Croydon Council is “holding a gun to the head” of the Upper Norwood Joint Library (UNJL), according to the opposition.

Las week the council announced it was terminating its agreement with Lambeth Council for the library, which is jointly run between the two authorities.

It blamed Lambeth Council’s boycott of the most recent annual general meeting.

But Croydon’s Labour opposition has accused the council leader Mike Fisher of “holding libraries hostage”.

Opposition leader Tony Newman said: “Councillor Fisher is holding a gun to the head of UNJL and holding every library in Croydon hostage.

“In his refusal to allow locally democratically elected Labour councillors in Upper and South Norwood, to sit in the UNJL Committee as has been the practise, regardless of political control.

“Despite 20,000 people signing petitions and marching against Coun Fisher’s plans and in a move that has even horrified other Tory councillors, Coun Fisher seems to be prepared to see UNJL future threatened and is hell bent on selling off all of Croydon’s libraries.

“I am joining with Lambeth Council Leader, Councillor Steve Reed in demanding Croydon’s Conservative Council sit down immediately with Lambeth and seek a solution that puts the UNJL before Coun Fisher’s ego.”

Upper Norwood Councillor Pat Ryan said: “This is an unprecedented attacked on local democracy and has caused outrage in the community.

“Councillor Fisher has completely abused his power, trampling over the wishes of local people. It is clear to me and everyone in Upper and South Norwood that Coun Fisher is scared to listen to local people and is on the run”.

UPDATE: Council leader Mike Fisher said: “We have taken these measures after two years of non cooperation from Lambeth.

"Tony Newman says he wants people to sit down and talk about it, which is ironic because that is what we have been trying to do with Lambeth councillors without any success. That is something he is well aware of.”