THE Lord Mayor of Chester has headed off a political row after grumbles about her going to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in the civic Bentley.

The Chronicle understands Mayor of Halton Keith Morley (Labour) is unhappy about Cllr Eleanor Johnson (Conservative) being chauffeured in the Bentley, claiming other dignitaries are going on the train due to cuts.

But the Lord Mayor told The Chronicle it would be cheaper to travel in the Bentley next Wednesday because the train fares for her, her consort and a staff member to protect the valuable mayoral chain would cost significantly more.

She said: “If we went first thing in the morning, I know from last time I went to London that it is £150 each one way and there would be myself, my consort and somebody to look after us because we are taking the Chester chain with us. Just one way would probably be over £500.”

She added: “It’s one of the highlights of the year representing the people of Cheshire West and Chester. I believe every authority is invited and I think it would be a snub tif Cheshire West and Chester didn’t go.”

The Lord Mayor said her party would not be staying overnight as she needed to get back for a mayoral visit to Chester Zoo the next day.

Cllr Johnson does not know which member of the royal family will be present at the occasion but she hopes it will be the Queen.

She understands ‘a couple’ of local people would also be attending who had performed voluntary service.

The Mayor of Halton did not wish to comment.