A CALL-in of Wirral Labour cabinet's plan to privatise two public golf courses has sparked a war of words between councillors.

Their decision to proceed with privatisation of The Warrens and Arrowe Park Municipal Golf Courses is now 'on hold' while the environment committee reviews the decision and challenges the evidence behind the plan.

Cabinet member for community services Cllr Julie McManus dismissed claims that it failed to consult over their plans and accused opposition councillors of 'grandstanding on an issue to try and score cheap points'.

Announcing the call-in, environment committee chair Chris Blakeley, Conservative councillor for Moreton West & Saughall Massie, said: "We had hoped the election results on May 2 would have convinced the Labour Party that their plans for a millionaires' golf course in Hoylake, while running down the council-owned golf courses, was a mistake.

"Instead, they are rushing to privatise the running of two of the Borough's most-loved golf courses – in Wallasey and Arrowe Park – and throwing a third, Brackenwood, into doubt.

"Nowhere in the cabinet's plans are the detailed costings, risks or benefits to the taxpayer outlined."

Conservative group leader Ian Lewis added: "Yet again the cabinet has failed to consult over their plans.

"It's no use saying they will consult with users of the golf courses after a preferred bidder has been signed up – that just tells everyone it's a done deal and any consultation would be meaningless.

"The council has a legal duty to consult but they also have a moral duty to consult in a way that could influence the eventual decision.

"The leader of the council and his new cabinet promised to listen.

"Less than a month into the new cabinet and they've failed to do so.

"I very much hope the Environment Committee will give users of the courses at The Warrens, Arrowe Park and Brackenwood the chance to have their say and that the cabinet will listen to what they say."

Cllr Julie McManus, cabinet member for community services, said: "The Tory outburst just highlights the hypocrisy of Conservatives opposing privatisation, when they basically invented the concept.

"The conservative budget amendment last year didn’t include removing the changes to golf courses.

"That means every Tory on the Council actually voted for this to happen.

"There was extensive consultation with all members throughout December and January where the opposition group expressed no concerns about this proposal.

"During our consultation with residents – something else the Tory statement conveniently forgets – people were absolutely behind this proposal, to improve our golf courses, protect staff from redundancies and provide a better service. 70% of residents were in support of the idea.

"Instead of being concerned about what matters to local people, they have chosen - once again - to grandstand on an issue to try and score cheap points.

"Cllr Lewis' comments fly in the face of the speech he delivered in the Town Hall only a month ago promising a different way of doing local politics.

"It's just typical Tories who cannot be trusted."