A TORY politician has called his Labour rival “mad” just days after using the phrase “basket case” at a mental health charity's meeting.

Bob Blackman, Conservative prospective candidate for Harrow East, came under fire on Friday for his attack on the previous Labour administration of Harrow Council.

But, when told by the Harrow Times that Tony McNulty, Labour MP for the constituency, had criticised the remarks, the former Brent Council deputy-leader replied “he's mad”.

Rethink, which hosted the debate where Mr Blackman made his original comments, said his use of the two phrases broke the spirit of a compact signed by the leaders of all three main parties.

The deal bans the use of mental health slurs and requires politicians to challenge negative attitudes on the subject, as well as forbidding speculation about the mental health of rivals.

Katie Leason, a spokesman for the charity, said: “I think it goes against the spirit of the compact.

“We urge all politicians to become familiar with the compact and to challenge negative attitudes towards mental health and to not use mental health slurs when they are out canvassing or at any other time.”

Mr Blackman played down his use of the phrase “basket case”, saying: “I referred to a laundry basket as a place where I put all the washing that needs to be cleaned out.”

When asked about his description of Mr McNulty as “mad”, he stressed his personal experience caring for his sister and said he could empaphise with the people affected by his remarks.

He said: “What I've said is my sister has had a learning disability all her life – I've had personal experience of this.”

He stopped short of an apology.

Mr McNulty pointed to the use of a third phrase in Mr Blackman's profile on the Conservative Party website, which states he rescued Brent “from the Looney left”.

Mr McNulty said: “Dismissing me as 'mad' just goes to show that whatever his own experience he clearly doesn't get it in terms of the sensitivity of the issue.

“I think that's a matter of much regret and probably shows the measure of the man.”

He added: “I haven't had mental health problems but I would have hoped that if I had I would have felt confident enough to talk about them.”

He called for Mr Blackman to apologise.