Chants of “Rayner resign” echoed through Hendon as campaigners staged a peaceful protest ahead of tonight’s full council meeting.

Barnet Alliance for Public Services teamed up with tenants of the West Hendon Estate to urge Mayor Councillor Hugh Rayner to step down from his post.

Cllr Rayner is currently under investigation by Barnet’s monitoring officer for a range of complaints relating to housing issues.

He has been accused of overcharging his tenants on housing benefit rents almost 55 per cent above market rate, and intimidating tenants by arriving late at night for contracts to be signed.

Tirza Waissel, who organised the demonstration outside Hendon Town Hall, in The Burroughs, on behalf of BAPS, said: “He’s meant to be the face of our community, and he’s totally abused his power.

“He’s milking it by overcharging poor, helpless tenants. There’s no justification for it. It’s just plain unfair.

“At a time where there’s a lot of uncertainty about housing – this shouldn’t be allowed to happen.”

They brandished placards bearing the words: “no morality in Rayners mayorality” and “shame on you Hugh Rayner”.

Others referenced the fact that 86 per cent of Times Series readers said Rayner responded to a poll saying he should resign.

Janette Ewans, who lives on the West Hendon Estate, said the allegations against Cllr Rayner came as a “slap in the face” to those renting their properties.

The estate is due to be demolished and people are being moved out of their properties, run by Barnet Homes, and will be forced to find private accommodation.

She said: “Many people here are frightened about where they are going to live. If this is the standard of landlords we allow in Barnet, of course they are frightened.

“Where is the integrity?”