A LEADING Conservative politician has become embroiled in an astonishing council blunder - after funds were diverted from her bank account to fund the LABOUR Party.

Councillor Lucy Hodgson is one of the most recognisable politicians on the county's local government circuit with her CV including cabinet jobs, a spell as the Mayor of Worcester and a period chairing Worcester Conservative Association.

But the true blue Tory has been unwittingly funding Worcester City Council's Labour group since the summer due to a bizarre payroll error which may have left one or two people decidedly red-faced.

Each Labour councillor pays a levy to their political party directly from their allowances, which helps fund its political activity.

Councillor Hodgson had a close look at her account recently and found £18.90 had been deducted from it every month since July, leaving her in the ironic position of funding the Conservative's arch rivals.

The payment is being put down to human error, with the city council's Labour administration saying the worker involved would be "mortified" at the blunder.

A tongue-in-cheek Councillor Hodgson has accused the Labour leadership of "incompetence".

"I was not even aware a political levy was allowed, I see it as incompetence," she said.

"I want assurances the Labour Party will pay the money back."

She raised her plight during a full council meeting to roars of laughter, with Councillor Joy Squires, the deputy leader, joking: "Welcome, you can stay if you like".

She added: "I'd be very surprised if the officer involved isn't mortified and hasn't apologised.

"I have been told it will be resolved in October, there will be a reimbursement to yourself and I reiterate that when you have manual input there will always be room for human error."

The city council says it deals with around 350 payments each month and at most only has one or two minor errors.

After the meeting Councillor Hodgson said the worker involved had apologised personally.

"I don't blame them, it's one of those things," she said.

Councillor Hodgson is a former cabinet member at the city council, and is part of the leadership at Worcestershire County Council.