THE removal of a Conservative councillor from all her committee posts after she refused to vote for a massive pay hike for cabinet members has been greeted with derision by opposition groups.

Councillor Kate Salinger was stripped of all her duties moments after abstaining from the vote on Barnet Council's allowances system, which gave top Tories bumper pay increases.

After the meeting Councillor Brian Coleman denied the only way to get some Tory members to vote for the measures was to threaten to withdraw the whip, adding about Cllr Salinger's removal: :“That's discipline for you. It's the democratic process in action.”

Lib Dem councillor Susette Palmer, who gave an emotional speech in council on the moves, slated the Tory handling of the situation.

She said: “I think the way they behaved was disgraceful. She made a very difficult moral decision. It's more in line with the Communist regime of the Soviet Republic.”

Councillor Munroe Palmer said: “I have a great deal of admiration for Kate Salinger and many of the things Brian stands for. I believe they are both honourable people.”

Labour leader Alison Moore said the removal showed the Tories to be “the nasty party” adding “revenge was swift”.

She added her removal from the fostering panel meant the Conservatives have failed to have someone consistent on it for two years jeopardising the future of looked after children.

“I think the last minute motion was to buy off some of the party because of the distasteful nature of costing residents more money,” she said.

“How they think they can bring it through at a point like this I do not know. The cabinet has been asked to forgo money this year, but there are no guarantees for next year and this is now fixed until 2014.”