The appointment of Cllr Reuben Thompstone as mayor has drawn an angry reaction from politicians and residents critical of his record.

Cllr Thompstone became the youngest-ever mayor of Barnet when he was sworn in on Monday (May 21) at the first full council meeting since the local elections.

But his appointment to the role of mayor has been criticised over his handling of cuts to services made while he was responsible for the borough’s schools and libraries.

While Cllr Thompstone was chair of the children, education and safeguarding committee in 2017, the borough’s children’s services were rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

Political blogger Julia Hines, who lives in Church End, East Finchley, said: “I was shocked that he did not feel it necessary to resign as chair of the committee following the Ofsted report. That would be the honourable thing to do.

“I don’t think that failure was all his fault, but he was the chair of the committee that was meant to be scrutinising that work.

“I think the symbolism of choosing someone who allowed that to happen on his watch is disrespectful to children.”

Erini Rodis, who also lives in East Finchley, criticised the move to limit children’s access to libraries, which was made on Cllr Thompstone’s watch.

The decision means children under the age of 15 cannot go to the library unless they are accompanied by an adult.

She said: “There are 200 children a year going to the school next door, but unless they are with an adult registered with a PIN they can’t use the library.

“I find it extraordinary that someone who has done so much to damage public services has been given an accolade.

“I came from a household without many books, but at least I had some quiet time. There are a lot of children who don’t have a bedroom to themselves.

“If you make children feel unwelcome in a public place and lock the doors to them, they will lose the habit of going to the library.”

Roger Tichborne, a senior member of Mill Hill Liberal Democrats, criticised the appointment over the proposal to cut funding for afterschool care at Mapledown Special School.

Announced in 2014 when Cllr Thompstone was cabinet member for education, children and families, the plan was scrapped after fellow Conservatives voted against it.

Mr Tichborne said: “It had a massive effect on disabled children. Members of his own party voted against it – which is almost unheard of in Barnet.

“Brian Salinger [former Oakleigh councillor] voted against it. Maureen Braun [former Hendon councillor] said at the time, ‘if you can’t look after the parents of disabled children, who can you look after?’

“I don’t think a person like him is fit for the job.”

Labour leader Barry Rawlings added: “Cllr Thompstone remains the chair of the community leadership committee and the children’s committee, and as such he will be making political decisions.

“For me, the mayor represents the whole borough. While the mayor should be under scrutiny, he should not be making political decisions.”

Barnet Conservative group has been approached for comment.