Tributes have been paid to a long-serving councillor who died two days after he was due to become the new mayor of Barnet.

Cllr Brian Gordon, who represented Edgware for the Conservatives for more than two decades, died on Thursday morning.

He was due to be sworn in as mayor at an annual council meeting on Tuesday evening, but the ceremony could not go ahead as planned due to his illness.

Council leader Cllr Dan Thomas said: “Brian was a valued councillor and respected member of the Conservative group, who passionately represented Edgware ward for over two decades, and I know that the whole community will be reeling from this sad news.

“As well as being a committed councillor, Brian was a keen journalist and legal counsellor, always keen to vocally support the causes close to his heart. He was also a well-known and respected member of his community at Machzikei Hadass in Edgware.

“On a personal note, I always appreciated Brian’s experience, questions and advice and will sorely miss him.

“I have reached out to Cllr Gordon’s family on behalf of the Conservative group, and they remain in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

MP for Hendon Dr Matthew Offord said: “It is with great sadness that I learnt of the death of Brian.

“The decision to postpone the annual general meeting of Barnet Council, where Brian was to be nominated as Mayor and the first citizen of the borough, indicated that his health was in a serious condition. After 22 years as a councillor such an accolade would have been a crowning achievement in his local government career.

“Brian also had another career in the legal profession and as a local journalist, with regular contributions on a range of issues and subjects that were close to his heart. Not all his views were readily accepted by everyone, but I respected his tenacity and steadfastness for standing by what he believed.

“While the death of anyone is painful, I send particular condolences to Brian’s wife Julie, his sons, daughters and extended family – whose loss will be profound.”

Mayor of Barnet Cllr Caroline Stock added: “I am not sure words can sum up how sad it is to hear this news in the week that Brian was going to become the mayor.

“I know how much he was looking forward to taking on this role, together with his wife Julie.

“I send the whole family my sincerest thoughts and heartfelt sympathy and wish them all the strength to get through this difficult time.”

Leader of Barnet’s Labour group Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “The Barnet Labour group were saddened to learn of the passing of Cllr Brian Gordon, who was a hard-working councillor with strong beliefs. We offer our sincere condolences to his family and colleagues. He will be missed on the council.”

On Thursday, Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Gabriel Rozenberg posted on Twitter: “I was very saddened by the untimely death of Cllr Brian Gordon. Despite the political gap between us he was always unfailingly friendly towards me. His family today paid tribute to a life in which every minute was crammed with activity, learning and community work.”