A WAR of words has erupted between Liberal Democrats and Labour over a vacant seat on Appleton Parish Council.

Labour’s Nick Bent accused the Lib Dems of a stitch up with the Conservatives over plans to co-opt a new councillor.

But the Lib Dems hit back saying it was ‘simply untrue’ and that they were ‘disgusted’ by the claim.

Mr Bent, Labour candidate for Warrington South in next year’s General Election, said the plan was to co-opt Conservative Jonathan Levy to the vacant seat, calling it an ‘abuse of power’ by the Lib Dems.

He added: "In the middle of a serious cost of living crisis for many families on the Cobbs estate, Labour is not prepared to let another grubby deal between the Tories and Lib Dems go unchallenged."

But Appleton Clr Judith Walker said the claim had ‘no truth whatsoever’.

She added: “Labour indicated that if we did not co-opt their candidate, they would call a by-election.

“We told them we could not say who the parish council would choose if there was to be a co-option.

“The idea that such things are ‘stitched up’ between political parties is typical Labour.

“They just can’t comprehend the idea of councillors taking a decision that is not politically whipped - even on a parish council.”

Conservative leader Clr Paul Kennedy said he was not aware of any deal being made.

He added: “People are claiming some kind of stich up but I have never spoken to the Liberal Democrats about this.”

He said the cost of the election is likely to top £5,000 with the parish council footing the bill.

Nominations for the seat close on February 14 with the vote in March.