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A ROW has broken out between independent candidates and Labour chiefs in the run-up to the Southampton City Council elections.

Independent city councillor Keith Morrell claims Labour are using “subterfuge tactics” by distributing leaflets in Coxford claiming credit for a successful community campaign to reinstate a bus route.

But Labour chiefs have hit back, saying they are the only ones with a record in delivering and saving services for residents in the area.

As previously reported by the Daily Echo, First scrapped its S1 bus service last year but it was saved by Velvet following crunch talks with Labour council bosses.

But Velvet then decided to cut out part of the route, between Lordshill North and Lordshill District Centre, which lies in the Coxford ward.

Following a community campaign which was supported by Cllr Morrell and fellow ward councillor Don Thomas and gathered a 600-word petition, Velvet decided to save the route.

But now Labour leaflets saying the party’s Coxford candidate Brian Norgate “campaigned to get the S1 bus route restored” have been attacked by Coxford’s two anti-cuts councillors.

Cllr Morrell, who is standing for re-election against Mr Norgate, said: “I think Labour are being dishonest in their campaign in claiming credit for some of the things that the community and Don and I have achieved, like saving the route.

“They also claim they have saved the Zoe Braithwaite Play Centre, when in fact it’s going to be used for a completely different purpose.”

A pre-school run by the Oasis Lord’s Hill Community Hub is set to open there in September.

Cllr Thomas added: “Some of what they are putting out borders on being scandalous.

“By saying they restored the S1 service they are muddying the water about who carried out the campaign to save the bus route.

“They also say they are supporting keeping Oaklands Swimming Pool open, but it was the community that stopped Labour from demolishing it.”

Council leader Simon Letts, also standing for re-election in Bitterne, has hit back at the pair.

He said: “They are mixing up moaning about things and actual delivery. Everything that has been delivered in Coxford has been delivered by this administration. We delivered the pool.

“They did get signatures to save the route, but negotiations took place between Jacqui Rayment and Velvet to get that route restored.”