A HEARING into the alleged misconduct of the Mayor of Barnet will be held behind closed doors this Thursday.

Members of the press and public will be excluded from the preliminary hearing, which forms part of the investigation into the allegation that councillor Brian Coleman breached the members' code of conduct.

A complaint was made against Mr Coleman, also the London Assembly member for Barnet and Camden, after a resident took offence at language he used to describe him in an email.

The code of conduct requires councillors to “treat others with respect” and in the worst cases a breach can lead to a member being suspended from office for up to a year and disqualified from standing for up to five years.

According to the agenda for the meeting, the meeting will be exempt under the Local Government Act 1972.

The part of the Act cited covers “information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)”.

Mr Coleman was awarded up to £10,000 of taxpayers' money by councillor Mike Freer, the leader of Barnet Council, to hire a top legal firm to represent him in the investigations.

Free legal representation was available through a firm chosen by the authority's insurers, but Mr Freer claimed Beachcroft LLP would be “more cost effective” and offered specialist knowledge.

When details of the investigation were first revealed Mr Coleman told the Times Series he was not the councillor concerned and threatened legal action if it was reported that he was.