THE LEADER of Wiltshire Council was branded 'undemocratic' and accused of operating like the 'politburo' after his budget setting speech.

The Full Council, and a packed public gallery, heard Cllr Philip Whitehead claim that by not voting to approve the £344m budget they would be 'voting against looking after children and the vulnerable.'

This provoked outcry from cabinet members, as well as from those in the public gallery, who said they were there to push the council to do more for climate change, and therefore 'entirely' supportive of moves to protect future generations.

Climate protestor Bill Jarvis said Cllr Whitehead’s claim that a vote against the budget would be a vote against looking after the old and our children was a 'cheap shot.'

Cllr Jon Hubbard, Mayor of Melksham scalded the council leader saying:

“It is disingenuous to infer that by not supporting your budget you are not supporting vulnerable adults and children. Some will not be supporting the budget BECAUSE they care.”

The leader' made much of trying to 'make' rather than just 'save' money but Lib Dem leader Cllr Ian Thorn said it was 'uninspiring and complacent.'

The budget was eventually approved with 59 for, 18 against and 3 abstentions.