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Mayor Tory addresses heated exchange, says he didn’t think Ford was ‘serious’ about shrinking council

John Tory blasts Councilor Michael Layton for ‘challenging his integrity’
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto Mayor John Tory on Saturday said that he had very brief "musing" with Ontario Premier Doug Ford over a proposed reduction of Toronto's city councillors and blasted councillor Michael Layton for challenging his integrity.

Toronto Mayor John Tory addressed his heated exchange with Coun. Mike Layton at a media availability Saturday, doubling down on his claims that he did not know about Premier Ford’s plan to cut Toronto city council seats nearly in half.

Tory and Layton got into a heated exchange in council Friday evening after the councillor suggested that the mayor knew of Ford’s plans ahead of time.

Tory said at a press conference Friday, and again on Saturday, that Ford briefly mentioned cutting city council in a meeting a few weeks ago, but that it was never presented in a serious way.

WATCH: Toronto Mayor John Tory, councillor have heated exchange during debate over cuts to council by Ford government

Toronto Mayor John Tory, councillor have heated exchange during debate over cuts to council by Ford government
Toronto Mayor John Tory, councillor have heated exchange during debate over cuts to council by Ford government

“I said at the press conference exactly what was the truth,” Tory said at an unrelated TTC event Saturday morning. “That’s why I was very aggravated that Councillor Layton would challenge my integrity. I had a brief — might’ve been less than two minutes — conversation with Premier Ford in his office about him suggesting that he might look at making some changes before the election. I said that was impractical … and the subject was dropped after that.”

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WATCH: Mike Layton says Doug Ford has ‘personal vendetta’ against Toronto

Doug Ford has ‘personal vendetta’ against Toronto: Layton
Doug Ford has ‘personal vendetta’ against Toronto: Layton

On Friday, the premier announced his government’s intentions to shrink Toronto city council seats from what would have been 47 after this year’s municipal election, to 25.

“I didn’t take this seriously because I didn’t think it was something that was put forward in a serious way,” Tory said. “Obviously that turned out not to be true.”

READ MORE: Ontario to introduce legislation to cut Toronto city council seats by nearly half

Ford’s announcement drew condemnation from most councillors and a few hundred protesters who gathered at city hall Friday evening.

A smaller group of councillors have supported the motion.

WATCH: Mike Layton says other councillors knew about Doug Ford’s plan to shrink council

Other councillors knew about Doug Ford plan to shrink council: Layton
Other councillors knew about Doug Ford plan to shrink council: Layton

Tory once again called for a referendum on the issue Saturday “as a means of making sure the public are involved, the people of Toronto, when there is such a fundamental change being put forward with their civic democracy.”