A Liberal Democrat councillor has come under fire for costing taxpayers money with “excessive” Freedom of Information requests to Richmond Council.

The Conservative administration issued a press release last week branding St Margarets and North Twickenham Councillor Alexander Ehmann “wasteful, misdirected and ignorant”.

It claimed Coun Ehmann submitted five requests for information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act costing the taxpayer over £500.

Council leader Lord True said: “Coun Ehmann has, quite unnecessarily, submitted five FOI requests at a cost of £500 to our taxpayers.

“He has directed his questions to our FOI staff, using FOI procedure when he could merely have asked an officer.

“Is it that he puts personal publicity and peddling conspiracy theories before taxpayers’ pockets? Or that he is too busy with his day job to lift the phone?”

Councillors are able to obtain information from council officers.

But Coun Ehmann said he would continue putting in FOI requests so that information would not be bound by confidentiality rules.

He said: “The real story is why the Conservatives want to hush up information that should already have been in the public domain. “I won't be cowed from requesting information that deserves to see the light of day.

It would appear that council officer time was wasted on building this dodgy-dossier – and costing them. “In my view that is a blatant misuse of council taxpayers’ money and shows how little the council administration wants to tell its public.”

He added that at least one of his FOI requests included pushing for information regarding the doomed plans to house the Gloriana row barge at Orleans Gardens.

The council spent £126,563 answering FOI enquiries in 2015.

A spokesman for Richmond Council said: “Requesting information via Freedom of Information is accessible to everyone.

“However, all councillors are able to ask officers questions directly.”