A TORY councillor for Golders Green has been dropped by his party after claiming his full council allowance while on an extended holiday abroad.

Christopher Harris, 44, has been 10,000 miles away in Australasia since July 21, but has still been receiving more than £800-a-month in allowances.

Today Barnet Council leader Mike Freer announced his Tory whip would be removed.

However, Mr Harris will be legally permitted to continue to claim his allowances as an independent councillor.

Mr Freer said: "It is one thing to have an extended holiday, it is quite another to have an extended leave of absence.

"I have therefore withdrawn the Conservative whip from Councillor Harris. Consequently he will cease to be a Conservative Councillor from this evening.”

Mr Freer, the parliamentary candidate for Finchley and Golders Green, said he believed the councillor was due to be away for only a few weeks and he removed the whip as soon as he learnt "he was still away and unable to confirm when he was returning".

However, Mr Freer released a statement earlier today defending Mr Harris's absence. He said: "The ward of Golders Green is served by three councillors, meaning residents have always had an elected representative on hand.

"Mr Harris will have served the residents of Golders Green diligently for 12 years and continues to do so.

"Mr Cllr Harris is expected to play a full part in his role as local councillor until he stands down at the next election."

Alison Moore, leader of Barnet Labour group, called for Mr Harris' resignation as a councillor.

She said: "Councillors do take modest extended breaks, but this is outrageous.

"He is evidently not committed to serving his constituents. You would need pretty extreme circumstances to justify being away for that length of time.

"He may have had his whip removed, but he should also step down."

Mr Harris was unavailable for comment. He currently has an out-of-office reply on his email that states he is on extended holiday in Australasia and suggests constituents try his mobile.