Barnet’s Conservative group has refused to discuss the impact of Brexit on the borough – a decision that was branded “outrageous” by a Labour councillor.

Councillor Reema Patel, Labour member for Coppetts, put forward a motion at last night’s (Tuesday, October 30) full council meeting calling on the local authority to prepare for the potential fallout from Brexit.

Her motion was based on a report by the London School of Economics (LSE) claiming NHS and social care facilities in Barnet could suffer from staff shortages when the UK leaves the European Union next year.

Cllr Patel called for a risk register to be drawn up to help the borough safeguard public services and citizens, as well as measures to support staff from the EU.

She also called on the council to reveal the effects Brexit has already had on the recruitment and retention of EU staff in Barnet.

But Cllr Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, branded the motion “a waste of time”.

He said: “I think this is really quite a difficult motion. It is really turning the whole council into a debating society discussing something that has no place to be discussed in this chamber.

“I would really commend Cllr Patel to look after the people of Coppetts rather than doing this – what a waste of time.”

Cllr Cornelius called for the motion to be immediately put to a vote and was backed by Conservative members, meaning councillors did not get the chance to debate the issue fully.

Labour member for West Finchley Cllr Ross Houston said: “This is an outrageous decision by the Tories.

“As the LSE report points out, this does affect Barnet and affects our residents.

“Brexit is an absolute disaster for this country, and I would urge the people opposite to put pressure on their government to get this right.

“At the Labour conference, our leader reached out to the Tories and said ‘if there is a sensible Brexit deal, we are with you’. We are not getting a sensible Brexit deal.

“This is an absolute shambles caused by the Tory Party’s internal divisions, and an absolute shambles of a negotiation.

“This decision not to debate is exactly the problem we have in this country.”

Cllr Houston was heckled by Conservative members when he said people had been “sold a pup based on a pack of lies” in the run-up to the EU referendum.

He did not get the chance to table an amendment to the motion calling for a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal.

More than 62 per cent of voters in Barnet backed remaining in the EU in the 2016 referendum on EU membership.

At yesterday’s meeting, Labour’s 25 council members voted in favour of Cllr Patel’s motion but it was defeated after the 37 members of the Conservative group voted against.