A Holocaust memorial event was attended by just a handful of councillors after it was branded too long.
An annual Holocaust Memorial Day service, organised by the mayoral office, was held at Preston Minister on Thursday January 24 as part of national commemorations for those who died during the Second World War.
However, the service sparked a heated row at a full Preston Council meeting when leader Peter Rankin hit out at opposition groups for poor attendance, after it was revealed only one Conservative councillor and no Liberal Democrats were there for the one-hour lunch-time event.
He said: “They don’t have any interest in civic events.
“I have been asked by members of the public why was there only one member of the Conservatives there and no Liberal Democrats. I’m very disappointed.”
Conservative leader Ken Hudson was jeered by the Labour group when he claimed Coun Rankin had only gone because he was “under a three-line whip to attend” and said he had been at a funeral instead. He said: “At the major civic events, we know full well the dominant group which attends these events are the Tory group.”
Liberal Democrat Cadley Coun John Potter accused the Labour group of political point-scoring by raising the issue at a full council meeting.
He said: “It’s disgusting. We should not be raking it through the council and through the mud.”
Coun Rankin admitted he thought the service was lengthy which could make it hard for people to attend. He said: “I’ve said to Fr Timothy (Lipscomb), ‘You really need to cut it down’. But it’s a significant world event.”
Fr Timothy said: “We all put a lot of effort into it and it’s always different.”