Banbury MP Tony Baldry claimed some councils are cutting front-line services “simply to make a political point”.

Speaking during a Commons debate about libraries, the Conservative said Tory-run Oxfordshire County Council was keeping its 43 branch libraries open. The council first proposed cutting all funding for 20 but backed down after an outcry.

He added: “Is not the reasonable inference that some local authorities have elected to make deep cuts in frontline services simply to make a political point?”