A COUNCIL leader has responded to comments made by a Liberal Democrat Councillor who criticised his statement that he would not waste money planning for hypothetical Brexit outcomes.

The news comes after the Local Government minister, James Brokenshire MP, wrote to all councils last month, advising them to prepare for a No Deal Brexit.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson said: “After years of no news from the Conservative Government, we now learn that the Local Government Minister has written to all councils, telling them to prepare for a No Deal Brexit.

“Not only is this too-little-too-late from the Conservative Government, but it also flies in the face of the response I personally received from Council Leader, Mark Hawthorne, who last year stated he ‘would not waste tax payers money on hypothetical scenario planning around this issue.’

“It could not be clearer that the Conservatives, both nationally and locally, have completely lost their grip on Brexit, with the only remaining option being to give the public a final say with a People’s Vote”

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, Leader of Gloucestershire County Council, responded: “Cllr Hodgkinson proposed spending local taxpayers on something the county council has no influence over, long before there was any indication what the likely outcome of the Brexit would be. His comments make it clear that suggestion was primarily for party political point scoring. Whilst the Liberal Democrats are concerned with press releases about Westminster politics, the Conservatives at Shire Hall will keep doing what we were elected to do – improving our roads, protecting the most vulnerable and delivering good quality local services.”

In his letter to all councils last month MP James Brokenshire wrote that the Government is focussed on securing a deal with the EU but that it also believes it to be "responsible and prudent to prepare for a potential ‘No Deal’ scenario."

"Cabinet recently discussed this point and has agreed that we must step up our ‘No Deal’ preparations."