IF council leader Steve Foulkes thought today's shocking report into the authority's failings "went beyond politics" he has swiftly been disabused of the notion.

His Conservative counterpart Jeff Green accused him of leading a culture of "manipulation, lies and deceit grew so strong that eventually, it became the primary objective of some of the senior staff."

In the process, says Cllr Green, it ruined the lives of the many decent, hard working staff who were being bullied, diminished and charicatured "bonkers."

He says disciplinary action should follow the Anna Klonowski report.

Councillor Green, who commissioned the report during his term of office, said: "The administrative (officer failings) are clear and there for all to see and yes, in my opinion, further disciplinary action must follow.

"However the political failings of Steve Foulkes in seeking to sweep our concerns under the carpet by refusing to order an independent inquiry and asserting that Mr Martin Morton’s grievance had been properly investigated and acted upon when it clearly had not are nothing short of appalling.

"This has now been shown to be, as we said at the time, breathtaking in their complacency, cruelty and incompetence.

"Allowing the current council leadership to lead a programme to refresh and renew the council’s governance is, I am afraid, like inviting Gordon Brown back to fix the deficit.

"Let’s not forget that if we had not ordered this inquiry the devastating findings of gross incompetence which, in my opinion, it uncovers would not have been revealed."

He said the Labour leader and his previous administration have allowed the public service culture of the council to become "warped into one of back-covering, secrecy, intimidation and machination and one that failed to act in the interest of some of the most vulnerable people in our society."

He added: "It is now our job to ensure that they are never allowed to turn their back on brave staff trying to do their best for our residents or entrusted with the care and safeguarding of our most vulnerable citizens ever again.

"In the meantime, whistle-blower Martin Morton and the vulnerable people he was trying to protect have been vindicated.

"The time has now come for others to decide what their next steps must be."