A COUNCIL meeting was interrupted as campaigners shouted "shame" and "resign" at leader Phil Davies as he successfully closed down debate on the future of a closure-threatened respite centre.

A special session of all 66 members of Wirral Council had been allowed by the Mayor at the request of the Conservative group in the hope of clarifying whether or not Girtrell Court was to be axed.

The summit was triggered after an article on the Globe's website concerning the Saughall Massie home.

There was uproar at Wallasey Town Hall when Cllr Davies said there would be no discussion allowed as the issue of Girtrell Court already had been studied three times by council in the course of a single month and nothing had changed.

Instead he moved the meeting proceed straight to a vote on a series of resolutions and called for Tories to apologise for wasting taxpayers' money.

The move sparked a furious response from campaigners in the public gallery who reacted with shouts of "resign" and "shame."

Addressing the chamber, Tory leader Jeff Green said stopping debate was "a gross insult to all the members of the public who have turned up here tonight and all the vulnerable people who attend Girtrell Court."

The meeting was convened following a first-person piece about the centre written by Cllr Christine Jones, cabinet member for adult social care and public health.

Her article said: "One of the decisions we have made after listening and meeting with the families is to continue to offer respite services at Girtrell Court through the end of August 2016.

"This common sense approach will also allow our council officers time to get all of the new services needed in place for the autumn."

It was headlined: "Wirral Council care chief says Girtrell Court respite centre will close in August - and here she explains why..."

The feature caused an outcry.

Anti-closure campaigners had been under the impression an ongoing consultation exercise would decide whether the home should close or remain open.

However Cllr Jones later issued an email to all councillors saying an August closure was "not necessarily the case."

"We will continue to hold discussions with individual families using the Girtrell Court facility to ensure that we are able to provide them with appropriate respite care which meets their needs," she said.

The Monday night meeting saw Labour vote through a resolution reiterating they are not imposing any deadlines.

"This issue is primarily about increasing choice and extending the reach of respite care," it stated.

"Council refutes the assertion by the Conservatives that in the Wirral Globe online version the cabinet member ‘announced’ that Girtrell Court will close at the end of August.

"The article contained no such announcement. The headline was the editor’s interpretation."

It went on to demand Conservatives apologise "for wasting council tax payers’ resources by requisitioning an extraordinary council meeting in a cynical attempt to politicise this issue."

Moreton and Saughall Massie councillor Chris Blakeley said: "Tonight's debate was the last opportunity before the council elections for the ruling Labour group to admit they have got it wrong on Girtrell Court and instead use some of the council's £108m reserves to keep this centre open.

"Sadly they have flunked it.

"The leader of the council may have successfully gagged his own councillors tonight.

"But he hasn't gagged me, the trade unions, the staff or the families of those who believe he is making a massive mistake."

Labour's resolution added that the director of adult social services is considering the outcome of the statutory one-to-one consultations with service-users and their families.

An event will take place next week where alternatives models of respite care will be "showcased."

"Following this event the director in conjunction with the cabinet member for adult social care will consider arrangements for re-providing respite care."

You can view part of the meeting on the Save Girtrell Court facebook page: