DAVID Cameron was facing mounting claims last night that his support for the abolition of Oxfordshire County Council was revenge for his row about cuts with the authority’s leader.

The Prime Minister and Witney MP was accused of being “vindictive” after an exchange of letters he had with fellow Conservative Ian Hudspeth was leaked to the Oxford Mail last November.

Liz Brighouse, leader of the county Labour group, claimed Mr Cameron was “trying to get his own back” by backing a bid from district councils to dismantle the county council and hand its powers to four new ‘unitary’ authorities.

This was echoed by Conservative Party sources, who said the row “was not good for anyone”. Responding to the claims yesterday, Mr Hudspeth said: “I do not know, but what I care about is finding the best solution for the residents of Oxfordshire.”

A spokeswoman for Mr Cameron did not respond to requests for comment on the claims.

Mrs Brighouse said: “After what happened between the county council’s leader and the prime minister, we are suddenly in a position where we could be abolished.

“I find that extraordinary and certainly cannot see how it could be to the benefit of people in Oxfordshire. It is just vindictive. But the worry is that even though it could be damaging to social care it could still get pushed through.”

In what would be the biggest shake-up of local government in the county since 1974, district councils last week called for four new unitary authorities to be created from the merged areas of Vale of White Horse and South Oxfordshire; West Oxfordshire and Cotswold District; Cherwell and South Northamptonshire; and Oxford City.

These would take over all local services, handing social care to the National Health Service, with a ‘combined authority’ managing transport and major roads.

Mr Cameron signed a joint statement with the county’s five other MPs which said the plan had “a lot of merit”.

The prime minister added: “West Oxfordshire is one of the best run and most cost effective councils in the country and we are, after all, the gateway to the Cotswolds, so I see a lot of advantages in exploring this option.”

He yesterday appeared at a meeting of the Conservative Councilors’ Association at the Oxford Belfry hotel. Mr Hudspeth is also understood to have attended.

One party source told the Oxford Mail: “It is revenge. I don’t think he will be satisfied until he has got rid of Ian.

“Everyone accepts the last six years have not been fantastic, but there have been faults on both sides and this row is not good for anyone, particularly people in Oxfordshire.”

Another Tory said the support for unitary councils from the county’s MPs had been “driven by frustration at the county council”.

This week there were also accusations that Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had engaged in secret talks with the district councils about their plans before they were announced.

In a joint statement with the districts, CCG clinical chairman Joe McManners said it supported “the ambition of the councils to bring health and social care closer together” and that it wanted to “work closely with them in developing these plans”.

However at a meeting on Thursday of the county’s Health and Wellbeing Board at County Hall, officials attempted to row back and claimed they just wanted to bring together the health and social care budgets.

CCG chief executive David Smith told the board: “We have been accused of plotting behind people’s backs which is absolutely untrue. We haven’t been working on some sort of counter-proposal for months on end.”