COUNCIL leader Cllr Russ Bowden says it was ‘absolutely regrettable’ nobody from his Labour group attended the Civic Sunday service.

The service is held each year shortly after the new Mayor of Warrington is sworn into office.

This year’s event took place on June 9 – the same day as Labour’s selection event for next-year’s all-out elections.

Cllr Bob Barr, leader of the town’s Liberal Democrats, pressed Cllr Bowden on the matter during the full council meeting at the Town Hall on Monday.

He said it was ‘disappointing that so few councillors’ attended, including none from the Labour group.

In response, Cllr Bowden told Cllr Barr it was ‘needs must’ for members who were seeking reselection.

He said: “I think it was absolutely regrettable that members of this group were unable to attend this year.

“I think it was well known that it was the Labour Party’s candidate selection day on the Sunday – and I personally was there for seven or eight hours through the whole process.”

He added that he was ‘sure that we will try to avoid such a clash’ in the future.