TORIES tonight poured scorn on Wirral Council's decision to scrap library closures, saying the ruling Lib-Lab administration "jumped before it was pushed".

They are now demanding the inquiry report into the controversial libraries shutdown be published immediately.

They believe the administration - which has had previous sight of the report by inquiry chairman Sue Charteris, appointed by the then Culture Secretary Andy Burnham - has jumped the gun to save their political skins.

Last month the Government's culture minister Barbara Follett revealed that there was a view in Westminster that proper consultation procedures had not been followed.

No one other than the most senior council officers and the Lib Dem and Labour party group leaders have seen the inquiry inspector's report, which was sent to them for "fact checking" in advance of it being sent to Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw.

Council leader Steve Foulkes said the unexpected move - announced after 5pm this evening - was the result of "decisive leadership".

But Cllr Jeff Green, leader of the Conservative Group, said: "For months, Steve Foulkes has been banging the table in the Town Hall, telling the rest of us there was no alternative to his savage cuts.

"By this U-turn, he has now passed the point of no return.

"Both Cllr Foulkes and his loyal deputy, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, have had the privilege of knowing what Sue Charteris has recommended.

"It is time the rest of the borough were also given access to that report so that we, too, can read how councillors Foulkes and Holbrook have so misjudged public opinion.

"In the meantime, we can only presume that her report was so damning and so critical that Cllr Foulkes has jumped before he was pushed, into making this U-turn.

"Indeed, it is this failure of judgement that has damned their future prospects of leading Wirral.

"Never again will people believe their promises and we must be vigilant that these cuts are not just suspended but are withdrawn once and for all."

Liscard Conservative Cllr Leah Fraser, who is also campaigning to be the prospective MP for Wallasey and Moreton, said: "The Labour Party now has zero credibility in this borough.

"By their patronising statements, the Town Hall lectures and the dismissal of public opinion, this failing administration has painted itself into a corner and, in the process, caused grotesque chaos in the vital services across many of our communities.

"I have little doubt that this decision will simply 'put off' library closures until after next year's elections, along with other savage cuts, as Labour struggles with its debt crisis.

"While I do not see any evidence that Labour or most Liberal Democrat councillors have learned any lessons from this, I do believe that many of the communities across Wirral have now seen this council in its true colours and they are crying out for change in the Town Hall."