A SENIOR Conservative has rounded on the mayor of High Wycombe and accused her of “pursuing a vendetta” against her predecessor.

The extraordinary row between mayor Jane White and ex-mayor Julie Pritchard, over the accounts of the mayor's charity appeal, burst into the public eye again on Tuesday night.

Councillor White says the accounts are 'incomplete' with 'many discrepancies', and raised her concerns at a meeting of the town's charter trustees.

But fellow Tory councillor Tony Green, the deputy leader of Wycombe District Council, called the row 'ludicrous and embarrassing', telling Cllr White: “I'm appalled by your behaviour tonight, you seem to be pursuing a vendetta.

“The finance committee, by a majority, agreed the accounts and they were accepted.”

Meanwhile, councillor Paul Lambourne, a former mayor, said it is not Cllr White's responsibility to scrutinise the accounts, adding: “You have no powers whatsoever as town mayor. Responsibility lies with the town clerk and the finance committee.

“It was agreed those accounts would be passed once we got a nil balance statement. We have now received that nil balance statement and that's the end of it.”

Cllr White told the Bucks Free Press yesterday: “There's no vendetta and there's no nastiness. I've only ever done what I believe is expected of me. I, as the mayor of High Wycombe have a duty to the public that I represent.”

She, along with three other trustees, told the meeting there is a lack of receipts and documentation to support the accounts.

The trustees voted at the meeting to have them looked at by an auditor.

This was despite a finance committee of trustees recommending they be signed off and the matter being ‘thoroughly investigated’ by police.

Police said in January an allegation of fraud had been ‘thoroughly investigated’, but the claim was found to be “unsubstantiated and no further action was taken.”

Cllr White had gone to the police to raise issues about the accounts, the meeting heard.

The row was dubbed the 'War of the Mayors' on the front of the Bucks Free Press in January, after the issue was aired at the last meeting of the trustees.

Cllr Pritchard left the council chamber shortly after the issue was raised by Cllr White on Tuesday, and publicly accused her of 'bullying' as she left.

Councillor Lesley Clarke, leader of WDC, backed calls for the accounts to be audited and echoed concerns that trustees would commit an offence by signing off incomplete accounts.

She added: “Nobody is accusing anybody of fraud or anything like that. What we are suggesting is these accounts are looked at.”

Cllr Green disagreed, stressing trustees would not be liable if they were signing accounts they believed to be correct.

Cllr Clarke had attempted to exclude the public and press as the issue was raised by Cllr White, but the Bucks Free Press said a reason for exclusion must be stated and a formal motion passed.

Other trustees then questioned whether there was a valid reason, or whether the committee even had powers to sit in private, and the debate continued.

Cllr Pritchard told the Bucks Free Press yesterday: “I was not at all expecting this to come up. I've no idea why she [Jane White] is doing what she is doing. Certainly it was not the finance committee that told her to do it."

She pointed out the accounts have already been investigated by the police, with no wrongdoing found, as well as being approved by the finance committee.