A senior Lib Dem councillor accused Stockport Tories of acting like they had woken up from a ‘ropey one night stand’ in an eyebrow-raising tirade at the town hall.
Coun Lisa Smart launched the attack on the eight-strong Conservative group during the authority’s annual budget meeting on Thursday night.
The Lib Dems had tabled a proposal for a ‘cost of living rebate’ for more than 100,000 homes, to offset soaring prices and an overall 4pc hike in council tax.
Funded from reserves it would hand £15 to all households in council tax bands A-D – broadly equivalent to the 1pc rise in the ‘general’ element of council tax.
The amendment was supported by the Labour administration – perhaps surprisingly given the tensions between the two groups over recent years.
However it did not find favour with the Tories, who said it was ‘unfair’ to demand more money from residents while the council was sitting on more than £90m in reserves.
But Coun Smart was quick to remind them they had passed up the chance to remove the Labour administration last May, after the Lib Dems emerged from the local elections as the largest group.
Instead the Conservatives supported Coun Elise Wilson’s continued tenure as leader, meaning Labour remained at the helm.
“You are the reason there is a Labour administration at the moment, it was your votes that put them in administration,” said Coun Smart, who recently stepped down as deputy leader to concentrate on her campaign to become MP for Hazel Grove.
“It’s all very well talking like you have woken up from a slightly ropey one-night stand, turning over, looking at what you have found yourself in bed with, and rambling incoherently a list of reasons why you need to leave.
“But a lot of us just aren’t buying it.”
Prior to Coun Smart’s unflattering comparison of Labour to a regrettable fling, she had praised the Labour cabinet for ‘listening’ to concerns over delegated highways budgets.
She also ‘absolutely agreed’ with Coun David Sedgwick’s comments about local government knowing its communities best.
“I really, really want to associate myself with the comments he made there,” the Bredbury Green and Romiley ward councillor told the meeting.
She was not the only Lib Dem to remind the Conservatives of their decision less than 12 months ago.
Coun Colin Macalister made a very similar point – albeit in perhaps not quite such eyebrow-raising style as his colleague.
“You voted for them to make that decision, you have got a cheek,” he told his Tory counterparts.
“Mr Mayor, there is no doubt that our priorities would not be exactly the same as the priorities of the present cabinet and administration, but we understand reality.”
The Labour budget – as amended by the Lib Dems’ ‘cost of living’ rebate proposal – was voted through by all councillors bar the Conservative group.
Stockport council met at the town hall on Thursday night (24 February).