Barnet Council has approved the return of its pest control service, but not without controversy.
The pest controllers are to return at the end of the year or in January, said cabinet member for environment, Matthew Offord, but opposition councillors walked out of Tuesday's full council meeting, as the expected debate on the issue was not allowed to take place.
The council's pest control service had been heavily subsidised, but when it was scrapped last April, residents with pest problems were forced to spend hundreds of pounds employing private contractors.
Before the walk-out, Mr Offord said: "I'll make no bones about it, there will be a price increase. The service has got to be self-financing, which it wasn't before that's why it was scrapped.
"There are many other pest control services around. We will always need to be competitive in the market place." People on benefits would be entitled to cheaper rates, he added.
Opposition councillors staged the protest, claiming that the chairman, Conservative Mayor Andreas Tambourides, had reneged on an agreement to debate the pest control issue.
An email from a council officer before the meeting had stated: "The Mayor has indicated that he is minded to take a motion from each political group for debate."
Amid cries of shame' from the chamber floor, Lib Dem councillor Susette Palmer said: "This email clearly implied the ruling Conservative group's intention was to allow councillors to debate a Conservative motion, a Labour motion and a Lib Dem motion.
"But a mere day after issuing this email, Conservative councillors have voted to debate two Conservative motions and a Lib Dem motion, leaving Labour's motions unheard. What the Conservatives did tonight was within the letter of council rules, but goes against the spirit of normal democratic debate."
Council leader Brian Salinger branded the walk-out childish'.