Conservative councillors staged a second walkout of a full council meeting in the space of six months.
Leader of the Opposition Coun Peter Britcliffe led his colleagues out of the town hall less than halfway into the meeting in protest at a raft of tabled Labour motions bashing government economic and health policies.
Coun Britcliffe accused the lead group of engaging in "election madness and propaganda" ahead of May’s local elections.
In the absence of the Conservatives, the depleted chamber voted through motions condemning the withdrawal of working tax credits, cuts in benefits and pensions, the Health and Social Care Act and the localisation of council tax benefits.
At the meeting, Labour Coun Tim O’Kane questioned whether the opposition leader should claim his full allowance given the number of walkouts.
He added: "This is the third time I’ve been involved with a meeting and he’s walked out. If they were so bothered that we put forward motions, why didn’t they put forward their own? There are local ramifications to these motions and this is why the motions say get the message across to those in government."
Tory Coun Tony Dobson told the Observer members were keen to stay in the chamber, but the decision was taken as a group to avoid Labour’s "ambush" tactics.