CONSERVATIVES have been accused of "doing nothing" to save a village library.

In July, Kirklees Council’s Labour/ Lib Dem Cabinet voted to shut New Mill Library to save £41,000 a year.

The area’s three Conservative councillors led a campaign to save the library, which closed last month.

But now Labour has said the Tories "did nothing" while they ran Kirklees last year to keep the village library open.

Last December, council officers drew up a hit list of small libraries which could be closed to save money. New Mill, Kirkheaton, Lepton, Slaithwaite, Golcar and Denby Dale were all included in the report to the then Conservative cabinet.

Two of New Mill’s three Conservative councillors – Donald Firth and Ken Sims – were members of the Tory cabinet at the time.

Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for Colne Valley Debbie Abrahams believes the two men should have seen the warning signs. She said: "The Tory cabinet had several chances to stamp on plans to close libraries. They did nothing.

"After the council officers’ original proposal was put forward, the Tory cabinet had at least a month to propose an amendment to save New Mill Library. Again, this did not happen."

Ms Abrahams accused the Conservatives of hypocrisy for attacking the Labour/Lib Dem coalition for closing the library. She said: "These Tory cabinet members made absolutely no attempt to rescue what they now call ‘the heart of the community’ when they had the chance. Why do they feel justified in criticising a policy they did nothing to stop?

"This lack of integrity and dishonesty in politics has to stop. Politics is not about misleading the public as the Tories have done here, it’s about having the courage to stand by your decisions."

But Clr Donald Firth, who lives in New Mill, denied he missed a chance to save the library when he saw the council officers’ report last year.

He said: "I told them there was no way that any of those libraries would close. We told the officers to come back with some sensible proposals but we were booted out of office a few weeks later.

"There was no need for Labour and the Lib Dems to close that library and we are still fighting to keep it."

Clr Firth added that closing New Mill Library was an anti-Tory move.

He said: "It was about stuffing the Tories. The £41,000 saved from closing New Mill Library is going towards a new library in Marsh."