Former Barnet Mayor Brian Coleman has been suspended from the national Conservative Party.

High ranking party officials took the decision hours before the Barnet Conservatives were due to vote on whether to suspend the disgraced member from the group at a meeting tonight.

The controversial politician’s position was put into question after he was charged with assault last week, following an incident in North Finchley High Road in September.

The 51-year-old’s suspension was kept under wraps until tonight’s meeting, when his colleagues were told the vote would no longer be taken.

Councillor Coleman, who lost his GLA seat to Labour’s Andrew Dismore earlier this year, is left sitting on the council as an independent representative of his Totteridge ward.

The former London Fire Authority chairman retains his position as chairman of the overview and scrutiny committee but could be stripped of the role at Tuesday’s full council meeting.

In a statement issued this evening, Conservative group and Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius said: "Cllr Brian Coleman has today been suspended by the party board from his membership of the Conservative Party.

"This means that he will not be participating in the Council as a Conservative until the legal process is completed.

"He remains innocent until proven guilty."