The deputy leader of Birmingham City Council and its chief executive are engaged in open warfare over what should be done to combat postal vote fraud at the General Election.
Lin Homer, the local authority's chief officer, is refusing to give Councillor John Hemming a list of 50,000 applications for postal votes and the addresses to which they will be sent, stating she has no legal powers to do so.
Coun Hemming (Lib Dem South Yardley) is questioning "whether she is really serious about reducing fraud?".
The Birmingham Post has also learned that the legal costs to the council of defending Mrs Homer, who is the returning officer, in the Aston and Bordesley Green postal vote fraud trials could be as high as £250,000 - a sum for which no political approval has been given, according to Coun Hemming.
Coun Hemming is to challenge Mrs Homer's postal vote ruling through a High Court judicial review.
Mrs Homer and John Owen, the elections officer, argue it would breach the Data Protection Act to email Coun Hemming a list of applications.
Only election candidates are entitled to a list and although Coun Hemming is to contest Yardley for the Liberal Democrats at the General Election he has not yet been selected.
Coun Hemming is entitled to inspect the register of postal vote applications at the Council House.
He said an attempt to do so failed when the elections office provided the list of applicants but not the list of addresses to which postal ballot forms are to be sent.
Coun Hemming said: "They have managed to round up someone at the Electoral Commission who says that they don't have to do it. But they did it last year. The council sent out various lists well before the election.
"There are simple things that the elections office can do to work with the parties to reduce fraud and they refuse to do it."
An election court heard claims that hundreds of postal votes were fiddled at last year's city council elections.
Coun Hemming wants to match up applications with addresses where the postal votes are to be sent before the General Election.
Mrs Homer has written to 50,000 people across Birmingham asking them to confirm that their applications to vote by post are genuine.
She said she believed Coun Hemming's concerns were being "amply met".