When is an amendment not an amendment?

That was the question in the council chamber when a Conservative amendment to a Liberal Democrat motion calling on the council to support a second referendum on Brexit appeared to completely undermine it.

Councillor Stan Pajak, the leader of the two-strong Lib Dem group at Euclid Street had tabled a motion saying: "There is mounting and undisputable evidence of the damage that ‘Brexit’would cause both to the national economy and to our regional economy." and calling on the Mayor and party group leaders to: "to write to the Prime Minister, Swindon’s two MPs and Sajid Javid, expressing this Council’s and Swindon’s strong desire for a referendum on the final terms of a Brexit deal, including the option to maintain full EU membership."

He said: "A Conservative Treasury Minsiter Mel Stride said yesterday that if no deal is arrived at with the EU, a second referendum is back on the cards.

"This is a crucial time. Europe is Swindon's biggest marketplace. Honda gets 60,000 parts a day form Europe. We needs to send a message to Ther4esa may. We need to send a message to Jeremy Corbyn."

But a Conservative amendment to Coun Pajak's motion removed all reference to another referendum and asked the cabinet member for economy to : "report outlining the council's response to Brexit through both its inward investment and business retention programs ensuring the borough is well placed to exploit any economic opportunities that may manifest in the future."

This wasn't popular with Lib Dem or Labour members.

Coun Des Moffatt said: "It's completely contradictory to the original motion."

But Conservatives poured scorn on the notion of voting again, including on approving any deal arrived at.

Coun Dale Heenan said: "The decision has been taken. We voted to leave the EU. The government has to get on with delivering Brexit now."

Coun Oliver Donachie, who will have to make the report demanded by the amendment said: "Nobody has the answers. This is an emerging situation and out inward investment team and business retention programme are doing a lot of work in the long term. We needs to educate ourselves on all that work, and I'll be glad to bring that work forward."

Despite a last-minute plea from Coun Pajak for councillor not to vote for his, now amended, motion it was passed as Conservatives and an independent defeated Labour and Lib Dem votes.