THE controversial actions of a Tory councillor have been condemned as “damaging the image of the borough” by opposition parties.

The leaders of Barnet's Labour and Liberal Democrat groups have hit out at mayor Brian Coleman after his latest political faux pas.

A standards sub-committee recently found the Totteridge ward councillor in breach of the councils code of conduct following a complaint by Mill Hill musician Roger Tichborne.

The committee upheld claims Mr Coleman breached Paragraph 3 of the code: failing to treat others with respect, in relation to an email exchange with Mr Tichborne.

Mr Coleman will not face any further official action following the decision, but his council colleagues say they hope he will carry out his duties in a more professional manner in the future.

Leader of Labour Group, Councillor Alison Moore said :“Brian Coleman is a senior London politician, and quite frankly, he should have known better.

“The Tory group have once again closed ranks and backed him as anything less would be an attack on their Leader, Mike Freer, whom Brian was defending in his outburst – but how many more times can they allow this to happen?

“This sort of thing is damaging the image of the Borough, particularly when it involves the Mayor.

“Elected representatives are paid for out of the public purse and need to set an example, and this episode really doesn’t do that.”

A poll of almost 600 people on this paper's website showed 81 per cent of people do not feel he should be allowed to carry on as Mayor, with only 15 percent backing him.

Just four per cent of voters said he should stay on if he apologised, although leader of the Liberal Democrat group, Councillor Jack Cohen, believes the situation could have been made better if Mr Coleman had shown remorse over his actions.

“I think he could have dealt with this at the beginning by expressing any regret, instead we have had to spend thousands of pounds on a legal enquiry,” said Mr Cohen.

“It got completely out of hand. This could have been settled with an apology.

“I would hope he has learnt a lesson and his response in the future is a bit more measured.

“It certainly drags the borough down to Brian Coleman's level. Maybe at the next full council, if he has anything about him at all, he will say 'I'm sorry if I have embarrassed the residents of the borough'.”

A statement from Brian Coleman's office said, in relation to the breach of the council code: "He stands by all the comments he made and he was found not to have brought his position into disrepute."