TORY councillors have been accused of living it up at the Big Weekend by Labour politicians.

But Swindon Council’s cabinet has defended the presence of about 15 to 20 Conservative councillors in the VIP area where there was open access to the Radio 1 Live Lounge with Lily Allen and Kasabian playing.

DJ Chris Moyles, Pablo from Snow Patrol, Dappy from N-Dubz, Sara Cox and Jo Whiley were just some of the celebrities seen in the sealed-off area.

But the man behind bringing the show to Swindon, Coun Phil Young, the council’s lead cabinet member for culture, said the councillors needed to act as ambassadors.

Coun Paul Baker (Penhill, Lab) said: “Labour councillor Fay Howard volunteered to work at the event and, as she was picking up litter, Tories were lapping it up in luxury.

“It is an absolute disgrace. I had to apply for tickets like normal people but they didn’t have to bother. If the council got a set number of tickets there should have been a lottery system for the workers.”

The Advertiser published a picture of Coun Howard picking up litter on Saturday outside the entrance of the field.

Coun Young said another 30 VIP tickets went to people described as “cultural movers and shakers” and business people who had done a lot for the town.

About 120 tickets were given to council officers’ families and volunteers in recognition of employees who went beyond the call of duty during and in the lead-up to the event, said Coun Young, And 30 tickets also went to young carers.

He said he was busy hosting some guests who had disabilities on Sunday and had little time for soaking up the music.

“The first act I saw on Sunday was Lily Allen, “ he said. “We were there to muck in and help out.

“All of the cabinet and West Swindon councillors had tickets.

“Cabinet members are the civic leaders of this town and I wanted them to take the lead in hosting.

“They had to perform a hospitality role and welcome guests.”

South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove also got a VIP ticket but opted not to go.

She said: “I realised that many people were disappointed at not getting tickets so I felt I could not justify taking them.

“I could not do it after many of my constituents were let down.

“It needed to be a people weekend rather than a VIP weekend. But the Big Weekend and Radio 1 have done a lot for Swindon.

“It was really well policed, organised and people behaved themselves.”

Coun Young said the guest tickets would not have been re-allocated elsewhere by the BBC even if they were left unused.

He said: “They were not available to the public.

“The BBC offers these tickets every year.”