The MP for the Cotswolds has been accused of 'refusing to acknowledge reality' after wading into a row on Cotswold District Council's borrowing plans.

Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown says proposals to invest in five solar farm sites for a total of £46.5million were 'not required' to reach net-zero targets and had the potential to bankrupt the council.

Earlier this year Cllr Tony Berry, the leader of the council's Conservative group, called for a referendum on the borrowing plans of the Lib Dem administration - which total £76.5million.

Sir Geoffrey secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons where he said: "The proposals clearly demonstrate financial incompetence amounting to a recklessness that has the potential to bankrupt the council.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Sir Geoffrey Clifton-BrownSir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown

"At the very least, it will mortgage the council for the generation to come.

"I urge Liberal Democrat councillors, in the interest of Cotswold taxpayers, to think again.”

Cllr Mike Evemy, the council's cabinet member for finance, said in response: “Sir Geoffrey clearly does not understand the financial position of Cotswold District Council or how we are addressing forthcoming reductions in funding from his Government.

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Cllr Mike EvemyCllr Mike Evemy

"He asserts that the council does not have the appropriate expertise to make investments to tackle climate change and support the economy without knowledge of the professional backgrounds of members and officers and the advisers the council will be using to support our decision-making.

"He erroneously states that the council has not accounted for the cost of both repaying the capital as well as interest costs on any loan we may take out.

"He assumes that all potential investment will be funded from borrowing when the decision on whether to borrow, use capital funds or grants available from Government and other bodies will be made by council officers at the point that funds are required.

"Clearly, our Member of Parliament does not agree that the council should invest in our district to tackle the climate emergency, help our economy grow and generate revenues to support services to our residents.

"Our Liberal Democrat administration will continue to manage our finances carefully, protect services and invest in our district while our MP and his Conservative colleagues on the council refuse to acknowledge the reality of the council's financial position.”