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Councillors see red at chaotic council

Hertsmere Borough Council's October meeting descended into chaos on Thursday after tempers flared between two warring councillors.

Tory Morris Bright, representing Elstree, was accused of sticking a finger up at Labour group Leader Frank Ward during a blazing row at the Civic Offices.

Mr Bright said he had made a victory sign, telling the council: "It was a 'V' sign, not an 'up yours'." He claimed the gesture had been meant as a joke, and that Mr Ward was deliberately making an issue of it to damage his reputation.

He said Mr Ward had conducted a vendetta against him and fellow Tory Sandra Parnell over the last six months, adding: "I apologise for any disrepute that I have brought the council chamber into."

Mr Ward, who represents Borehamwood's Kenilworth ward, denied he had conducted a vendetta against Mr Bright, and threatened to withdraw cooperation with the ruling Conservative group unless his behaviour was curbed.

The meeting was adjourned twice, to give councillors time to cool down, and several times Mayor Stuart Nagler offered to call it off. Some councillors, including the Liberal Democrat leader, walked out in disgust. The entire Labour group left in protest, but rejoined the debate after a five-minute break.

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