There were tears and outrage at a dramatic meeting after councillors confronted one member alleged to have lied about colleagues supporting a pay rise.

The heated debate happened during the latest Stratton St Margaret Parish Council meeting, held earlier this week.

Coun Matthew Vallender was urged to apologise for suggesting that he had pushed for councillor allowances to be frozen and then faced opposition from Labour members who wanted it to be increased.

This account of events is disputed by Coun Tim Page, who chaired the original meeting on November 30, and is not mentioned in the clerk's minutes, which confirm that everyone agreed to freeze allowances.

Coun Vallender stands by what he wrote and insists that other people's recollections of the discussion before the vote are incorrect.

On Wednesday evening, Coun Page sought and received reassurance from most of those who were at the other meeting that no one had at any point proposed an increase.

He showed an Adver article in which Coun Vallender responded to accusations of lying by naming Couns Ravi Venkatesh and Teresa Page as alleged supporters of a pay rise.

Coun Tim Page said: "Coun Vallender has - for reasons only he knows, possibly to gain some political advantage - attributed statements to [these councillors] that are totally untrue.

"He has let down the council and betrayed his fellow councillors. It's shameful and disgusting."

Coun Venkatesh added: "It's a false allegation against me. I'm a co-opted councillor, so I'm not taking any allowance. I said that - at a time when people are facing issues - we need to freeze our allowances.

"I have great respect for Coun Vallender, let's leave the politics outside the room, but I wasn't expecting such a lie from him. We become councillors to serve our residents and make the parish better.

"It's unfortunate to see this allegation and I hope that Coun Vallender will realise his mistake and apologise."

Coun Teresa Page added: "Matthew, you mentioned my name. I'm the longest-serving councillor here and, uh - it's just -," before she began to weep.

Coun Vallender replied: "I had hoped we would be able to resolve this more amicably than we have tonight.

"Unfortunately for members of this council who do disagree with me, I stand by my comments in the leaflet and the Swindon Advertiser.

"I have been disappointed with the conduct of a member of this council who has taken it upon himself to continually harass and bully [me] through email and social media.

"I do not think that his behaviour has been professional and I really did expect better of his conduct.

"I had no intention of making things personal or naming councillors who did speak in favour of an allowance increase and did try to stop me from voting. However, I have been left with no choice but to back up the claims I made in the leaflet.

"It's disappointing that some councillors don't have a full recollection of November's meeting, there's not a huge amount I can do about that."

This was met with a burst of uproar, with Coun Tim Page shouting: "You're disgusting, Vallender, there's no place for you here." 

A more detailed summary of the allowances item, issued in a bid to resolve this argument, states that no councillor spoke in favour of increasing councillor allowances.

Coun Vallender tried to get this extra phrase removed but only had one other backer - Coun Oladapo Ibitoye, who did not have a firm enough recollection to give an opinion either way - so the vote was not carried.

Most councillors instead voted to accept the longer summary into the official record and refer the matter to the Standards Committee.