All of Salford's Tory councillors face a town hall investigation after an astonishing spat over the city's green spaces.
The eight-strong Conservative group has been reported to the council's monitoring officer for allegedly bringing the council into disrepute.
The row stems from a press release issued by the Tories, in which they claimed the Labour controlled council had decided to "omit" ten green spaces "from the protection of the Local Plan".
The press release said: "We have also been told that one of the reasons they have been omitted is because they have bowed to objections to them being included from a major local landowner and other developers – this is a disgrace."
The allegation is strongly refuted by Labour City Mayor, Paul Dennett, who accused the Tories of promoting "fake news...straight out of the Donald Trump playbook".
Labour say the ten locations have not been left out of the Local Plan but will considered in the second part of it.
City Solicitor Sian Roxborough, as monitoring officer, will assess a formal complaint against the Tory Group. If it is upheld there will be a full investigation by the council's standards committee.
Mr Dennett said:"I am actually quite appalled that the Conservative Group have resorted to these unfounded smears. This kind of fake news is straight out of the Donald Trump playbook.
"The Conservatives have effectively made a baseless allegation of corruption - in so doing they are behaving more like Q-Anon than a proper political party.
"This falls well beneath the standards of behaviour, integrity and honesty the people of Salford should expect from their Councillors - and the monitoring officer will be receiving a formal standards complaint regarding the entire Conservative group imminently.
"The fact is we are operating on legal advice, from the same QC who has helped us defend Broadoak Farm from development.
"His advice is clearly that leaving these sites in part one of the plan would risk them far more than moving them to part two - and protecting these sites is precisely the intention of this Labour Council.
“The Conservative’s disgraceful claims here could not be farther from the truth. Salford Labour are protecting our green spaces – whilst the Conservatives are gambling with them for political gain.”
A council spokesman confirmed a formal complaint against the Tory group had been submitted.
The press release, issued by Conservative councillor, Robin Garrido, on behalf of the local party, says: "The only ones to speak in favour of protecting these green spaces were yet again the Conservatives and we have pledged to keep up this fight and to now press for a second part to the Local Plan to include the above spaces, to be submitted as soon as possible."
Six out of ten of the green areas at the centre of the row are in the Tory stronghold of Worsley.
The locations are:
- The Meadow, Broughton
- Brickfield Wood, Walkden
- Three Sisters, Eccles
- Blackleach Country Park, Walkden
- Roe Green, Worsley
- Land at Beesley Green and Kempnough Brook, Worsley
- Worsley Woods, Old Warke Dam and Aviary Field, Worsley
- Broadoak South, Worsley
- Dukes Drive, Worsley
- Worsley Green, Worsley
But a spokesman for the City Mayor's office said: "Councillors, including the whole Conservative Group, attended a briefing on January 14th for ward councillors which had Local Green Space.
"They received an additional briefing paper and the advice from Chris Katkowski QC specifically on the inclusion of the Local Green Space which unequivocally stated that keeping the sites in their present position in Part One would be found ‘unsound’ by the planning inspectorate and risk those sites.
"At that briefing Con Robin Garrido stated that “reading between the lines” it could be seen as ambiguous. Officers assured him that it was not and was very clear."
Mr Katkowski represented the council at two public inquiries in a successful fight to stop Broadoak - land between Monton and Worsley - being developed for housing.
Asked to respond to the City Mayor's dismissal of the Tory's claims, the leader of the Conservative Group, Coun Les Turner, said: "All matters that are on any Full Council Agenda are debated at our Group Meetings prior to Council Meetings and a decision is then taken on how we proceed on the day.
"As you are aware proceedings are streamed live and debate can be quite lively, some things we can agree with the ruling group on and of course some that we feel unable to support.
"The item mentioned is one proposal that my group could not agree to support for reasons I believe were expressed in the debate."