A GWENT councillor asked a woman colleague "How would you like to mess about with me?" Now he faces public censure, and could be expelled from his committees.

Torfaen borough councillor Mike Davies is accused of breaching the authority's code of conduct, after a council worker formally complained about comments he made to her in Pontypool civic centre on May 2.

Borough solicitor, Duncan Forbes, said in a report: "Councillor Davies said to the female member of staff concerned, 'How would you like to mess about with me?'

"She replied, ''Pardon?' and he repeated the statement. Her response was 'No thank you', to which he responded, 'That's the wrong answer, you should have said No thanks but thanks for the compliment'." She was said to be distressed and angry about the comment, which the Pontypool councillor says was a "joke that went wrong".

The 62-year-old married Independent is also angry the incident has been made public. "There was no sexual harassment at all - it was just a joke that went wrong. It wasn't taken in the right spirit," he told the Argus.

"There was no sexual intention or anything like that. It was only about the third or fourth time I'd spoken to the lady and the first time I'd cracked a joke.

"I'm more than surprised because when I was spoken to about this I immediately wrote a letter of apology. "I think it's overzealousness on their part. I'm a great-grandfather - what danger am I? "Perhaps I did upset the girl, but I wrote my apology and they're still not satisfied.

"For the council to pre-judge this and put information into the public domain is something they need to look at. "If they find there was no need for this then somebody's head is going to roll."

Torfaen council's ethics and standards committee meets on Monday to discuss the incident. Because the complaint has not been formally referred by the ombudsman, they cannot suspend Councillor Davies.

The committee's options are to: Publicly censure him;

Recommend he be removed from his positions on council committees for any specified period of time and/or;

Make any other recommendations thought appropriate for training or conduct of members in future.

A council spokesman said: "This single incident will be dealt with by the ethics and standards committee on Monday, so it would be inappropriate for us to comment."