City councillors in London, Ont., have voted against a motion that would have forced Mayor Joe Fontana to temporarily step aside until his legal problems are sorted out.

The motion was defeated in a vote of 8-5.

Fontana, a former Liberal MP, was charged by the RCMP last month with fraud under $5,000, breach of trust by a public official and uttering forged documents.

The charges relate to a 2005 incident in which police allege a $1,700 federal cheque issued by Public Works Canada was used to pay a deposit at a London banquet hall for the wedding of Fontana's son Michael.

At the time, Fontana was a federal cabinet minister under former prime minister Paul Martin. He was elected mayor of London in 2010.

Protesters filled London's city hall for the meeting. Earlier in the day, it was expected that some would hand out free sloppy-joe sandwiches ahead of the event -- in recognition of the nickname given to Fontana by his opponents.