A ROW has erupted between the BBC and the leader of Cheshire East Council (CEC) over remarks he allegedly made during a conference in Chester on February 2.

CEC leader Michael Jones has denied a report that he said of his senior council officers: “we’re pushing them out...because they’re not good enough.”

The incident follows an announcement that all management positions at CEC were being ‘deleted’ in the wake of the Lyme Green fiasco, and that senior staff would have to reapply for their positions.

BBC reporter Arif Ansari attributed the quotes to Clr Jones via social media network, Twitter.

Mr Ansari tweeted the quote live from the Cheshire Wirral Area Conservative Conference, where Clr Jones was one of the speakers.

Clr Jones denies making the remark.

A BBC spokesman said: “Arif Ansari attended the Cheshire and Wirral Conservative Conference on Saturday and tweeted several statements made by speakers there. He stands by all of his tweets reporting from the open meeting.”

Meanwhile, Clr Jones has confirmed he will stump up the £1,000 CEC spent on their stall at the conference.

A spokesman for Cheshire East denied the council had sponsored the event, but had exhibited a stand ‘to convey a specific message’ to the Secretary of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles, that Cheshire East ‘does not want speculative, unsustainable and unplanned housing developments.’

The spokesman said: “The expenditure on the stand was authorised by the council leader Michael Jones who has offered to reimburse these costs to the Council.”

Clr Jones added: “I thought the message to the Minister was worth it, especially as just one appeal costs in the region of £100,000.

“The message was that the Council is working hard for the people of Cheshire East promoting plan-led and jobs-led sustainable development.”