Handing power to the Tories at town hall level would leave London and the rest of the country open to 'weird, wild and dangerous' ideas being pioneered in boroughs like Hammersmith and Fulham, Labour warned today.
Cabinet ministers John Denham and Tessa Jowell visited the Irish Centre in Blacks Road, Hammersmith, to launch their party's local election campaign, urging party activists to prevent the 'triple threat' of a Tory government, mayor and local authority from becoming a reality.
Mr Denham, the communities and local government minister, claimed such a combination would be a 'nightmare' for those living in social housing and dependent on council services, and could lead to drastic public spending cuts which could put an end to Crossrail and push the country back into recession.
He said the Tories would bring an end to 'social housing as we know it' by pushing levels of rent up to those of the private market, and by ending security of tenure for council and housing association tenants.
"That's being pioneered in London, in places like Hammersmith and Fulham, by people who have got the ear of the Tory party leader," said Mr Denham.
"I don't think the people of London want to be in some political experiment led by people in he Tory party who have some weird, wild and dangerous views that are already being put into place in some boroughs."
Stephen Greenhalgh, the leader of the Tories in Hammersmith and Fulham, is also the head of the Conservatives' Council Innovation Unit, and has co-written a paper about social housing policy.
Dismissing Mr Denham's claims as scaremongering, Mr Greenhalgh said his administration had enabled many more people to get on the affordable housing ladder and had built more social rented homes than the previous Labour council.
Social rents would not be put up to market levels by the Tories, he said, and the rights of social tenants would be protected and respected.
"It's a sign of a desperate party that they're campaigning on fear and unfounded allegations that bear no scrutiny," said Mr Greenhalgh.
He added that Hammersmith and Fulham Council had achieved reductions in council tax, higher levels of resident satisfaction and won council of the year at this year's Local Government Chronicle awards.
"We stand on our record and we're proud of what we've achieved for the people of Hammersmith and Fulham," he said.
This morning's meeting coincided with the launch of a Labour campaign website, cameronscouncils.com, which directly criticises Hammersmith and Fulham Council's housing policies.
Addressing Labour councillors and party activists gathered at the centre, London campaign director Tessa Jowell said: "I hope that you're all going to go away this morning remembering the Liberal Democrats are neither liberal nor democratic.
"The Tories offer you an on-your-own, DIY form of local services, but you have an alternative of which you can be incredibly proud – progressive local government that really does change the lives and opportunities of the people you represent."