A LEADING councillor was asked to apologise for comments about the NHS being under pressure from demands for “boobs” and “babies” – but Labour has been accused of “stifling” debate and launching a personal attack on her.

Cllr Susan Baines, a former midwife, made the comments at a council meeting in August. She said: “We have allowed the NHS to be violated by ourselves in terms of our wants. ‘I want a baby’, ‘I want to change my gender’, ‘I want bigger boobs’, ‘I want to look different’. ‘I want, I want, I want’ and the list goes on.”

Ex-Mayor, Cllr Elaine Sherrington, said she was concerned that Cllr Baines is responsible for the health and wellbeing portfolio, accusing her of a lack of empathy.

She said: “I do think that if there was anybody who was on IVF at this moment in time and found themselves pregnant, they’d be very pleased that you are not a midwife anymore.

“When you condemn people for wanting a baby in this chamber [...] it’s concerning. And it’s the same with boobs as well. I do know people who had to go for boob surgery because if they hadn’t they would have finished up being terribly disabled with their backs."

But Cllr Debbie Newall said she was “appalled” to hear women trying to close down another woman’s freedom to express herself.

The former Labour councillor who has joined the Lib Dems said she didn't agree with Cllr Baines' sentiments but welcomed her views.

She said: "I absolutely welcome that she is a woman in a position of authority with great responsibility and a platform to share her views. It wasn’t always so, was it ladies? 100 years ago she wouldn’t have had the platform and there are many women in the world today who still don’t."

Labour's health and wellbeing spokesman, Cllr Sue Haworth, put forward the motion at a council meeting on Wednesday, saying that her views were "not welcome".

The motion also asked the council to "fully support" the position that clinicians and bodies like the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence provide "the best source of guidance and decision making.

She said: “The NHS is under tremendous strain from the demand pressures caused by the ill-health of austerity Britain and money held back from the NHS by the recent government for nine years.

“These matters of transgender and of pregnancy and of IVF – there are research-based guidelines in the NHS that are used by doctors and patients to guide this. The NHS seeks to be compassionate and caring of people."

However, Cllr Baines accused her opposite number of not understanding how clinical decisions are made within health care.

She said: "NICE itself does not make the day-to-day healthcare decisions but offers recommendations to help support the process of individual decision making.

"Sometimes there is a need for the public to attend a NICE committee to ask for particular treatment which may not be routinely offered within contractual agreements and then NICE will make a decision to either fund it or not based on the evidence available to them and their appreciation of it.

“You are therefore asking the council to support all their decisions and this would be very damning as this would remove our impartiality as councillors and our ability to support any of our constituents coming to us at their hour of need."

Brexit Party councillor Mark Cunningham said he thought the motion was born out of "political correctness".

Farnworth and Kearsley First councillor Maureen Flitcroft said she was "appalled" by the personal attack on Cllr Baines.

Senior Conservative councillor said that Cllr Baines has the confidence and support of her colleagues.

The Labour motion was not passed.