Councillor Brian Coleman is facing suspension from the Barnet Conservative group after he was charged with assault on Monday.

Group leader Richard Cornelius said he was beginning the process of suspending the former Barnet Mayor.

The u-turn comes 48 hours after the council leader said former GLA member Cllr Coleman, 51, would have to “take a back seat” in politics until the legal issue was resolved.

But in a statement sent out on the leader’s behalf, Councillor Cornelius said: "I am initiating the process of suspending Cllr Coleman from the Conservative group.

"There are group rules that need to be followed and I must abide by these rules.

"Due process must be followed and I will update as and when I can."

A decision on the councillor’s suspension is expected to be made at a private Conservative party meeting on Tuesday.

Councillor Coleman was arrested on September 20 following an incident in High Road, North Finchley.

On Monday, police charged the former London Fire Authority chairman with assault by beating and driving on a road without reasonable consideration.

He has been bailed to return to Hendon Magistrates' Court on November 5.

The council leader has come under increasing pressure to take firm action following the controversial politician’s arrest.

Labour group leader Alison Moore on Monday called on Richard Cornelius to remove the party whip from Councillor Coleman in wake of the charges.

Barnet Council also confirmed the politician would retain his status as a ward councillor and that any reprimand would be a decision for full council.