Expelled Tory councillor Brian Coleman says he would rather gouge his own eyes out than appear at a public debate alongside the woman he was convicted of assaulting.

The Totteridge politician had been billed to sit alongside Helen Michael at the ‘Any Questions?’ event in Friern Barnet Library next month but, having previously refused to comment, he angrily denied the suggestion this afternoon.

Organiser Keith Martin included Mr Coleman’s name on an advertised line-up for the debate alongside Ms Michael, a blogger named Roger Tichborne, Labour councillor Kath McGuirk and panel chairman Barabara Jacobson, from the Barnet Alliance for Public Services.

But Cllr Coleman, Barnet’s former GLA member, wrote on Twitter: “I have not and never have had any intention of appearing anywhere with Tichbourne(sic), Michaels or Jacobson, now is that clear to everyone?

“In fact if you want a quote, here it is: ‘I would rather gouge my own eyes out than spend an evening with these people’.”

Café owner Ms Michael had extended the invitation to the former Barnet Mayor on the promise she would drop a defamation claim against him.

He was convicted last year of assaulting the business owner during a row over parking in North Finchley High Road, and was subsequently expelled from the Conservative Party.

Asked if he had confirmation of Cllr Coleman’s attendance on the panel, organiser Mr Martin said this afternoon: “Councillor Coleman has begun to vacillate and suggest conditions so, no, I do not yet have his unreserved confirmation.”