A former councillor has told a court he is ‘prepared to go to jail’ after refusing to pay council tax due to his concerns over Cheshire devolution.

Will Charlton appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on Wednesday (June 19) after being summonsed for non-payment of council tax.

Mr Charlton, of Winsford, said he was not paying until he received answers to correspondence he had sent to the Government and the Labour Party over Cheshire devolution.

He said he had raised concerns about Cheshire being drawn in to a city region-style devolution deal which would combine the two Cheshire councils with Warrington Borough Council, and the impact the latter's debt would have on any such deal.

But he was told by magistrates that council tax had to be paid regardless of someone's personal feelings about local government.

Mr Charlton told the court: "I am not paying council tax until I get replies to the letters I have sent."

He then brandished the letters and asked if the court would like to see them, but the bench declined.

He added: "I am not disputing I am at fault, but such is my feeling over the fiasco of local government changes. I was in local government for 30-odd years but this is just ridiculous."

The court was told by Cheshire West and Chester Council's representatives that Mr Charlton had received numerous reminders to pay.

Charles Platt, the chairman of the bench, told the defendant: “You have admitted you are at fault. You or I, just like everybody else, must pay tax and your reason for not doing so has not been accepted."

Mr Charlton was issued with a liability order - meaning he has been compelled by the court to pay his outstanding tax. He will also have to pay costs of £100.

When told he was free to leave, Mr Charlton turned and told the bench: “I am going to jail if necessary."

Mr Charlton resigned as a Conservative borough councillor for Leftwich and Kingsmead in 2008 following the decision to reorganise local government in the county into two unitary authorities, saying at the time 'the decision stinks'. He later stood as a general election candidate as an independent in 2010.

Cheshire East Council recently said it would meet with government officials to discuss possible devolution options, but some councillors on the authority are adamant they do not want a deal which includes Warrington - which has a debt of £1.85 billion.