Tempers boiled over in Thurrock’s council chambers when a motion to congratulate children on exam results turned into a row about education cuts.

At the latest full council meeting, Conservative councillor James Halden proposed a motion that called for the chamber to congratulate schools for their summer successes.

But the proposal was quickly politicised by members of the Thurrock Independents who put forward an amendment condemning the Government for making cuts.

Independent Jack Duffin said: “It is important to note the backdrop they are having to fight against to achieve their results. An eight per cut per pupil since 2010 is disastrous, it is not a small cut, it is a massive, massive cut. It is important to have a balanced motion that understands they are doing this against very difficult circumstances and this government is actively worsening our situation.”

Council leader Rob Gledhill accused the party of turning the issue into “political football” which “demeans the children”.

Deputy leader Shane Hebb hit back at the Independents telling them to “get off the internet” and visit a school to see how students are performing.

Labour group leader John Kent backed the Independents claims and said: “We’ve heard from the Independent group of the eight per cent cut, which is true. There is not a school in Thurrock that has not seen funding cut for the period of 2015 to 2020.

“It is also true that there is more investment going into schools than ever before but that is simply because there are more children in school than ever before.”

The row left councillors shouting over each other and mayor Barbara Rice, who chaired the meeting, had to call for order five times. The amendment was eventually passed when Labour and Independent councillors voted unanimously in favour, while the Tories abstained.

After the meeting the Independents criticised the Tories for not voting in favour. They claimed they were “unwilling to congratulate students for their fantastic grades”, despite this being the point of the motion before the amendment.