A KEIGHLEY councillor was accused of dragging party politics into Keighley Town Council during a bitter row which broke out during the meeting to select a new mayor.

Last night's meeting (April 20) saw Cllr Mohammed Nazam selected to be the town mayor for 2017/18 but not before rival nominee Cllr Barry Thorne said he wanted to "consider his position" until the actual mayor making ceremony of May 18, sparking an angry reaction from some councillors.

Cllr Thorne, the current deputy mayor and leader of the Labour group on the town council, said: "I'm not an uncontroversial character.

"Looking around the room it seems I don't have the support of the majority of the town council."

But his suggestion that a vote should be on May 18 instead was rejected by Cllr Julie Adams.

She said the fact that the town council had gone against its own protocol last year, when the pre-selected deputy mayor's post was contested during the mayor making evening, did not mean it was alright for something similar to happen again.

She said Cllr Thorne should not be allowed to delay the vote simply because some councillors he would expect to vote for him were away on holiday.

Cllr Gary Pedley supported her, telling Cllr Thorne: "You haven't got the political vote so you're delaying things till you have it. It's party politics in this chamber, and it's wrong."

Cllr Thorne said that all he was asking for was democracy and accused Cllr Adams of "bullying" him.

She responded: "I'm sick of being told that I'm 'bullying' you. How can anyone bully you?"

Cllr Thorne said: "I'm quite happy to meet Nazam and to try and come to an amicable agreement, because I don't want to throw a spanner in the works. I don't want to upset him and his family."

Cllr Thorne added that Cllr Adams "hated" him, to which Cllr Adams replied that she only "hated his politics".

Despite the dispute, the poll did go ahead yesterday evening and Cllr Nazam was comfortably voted in to be the next town mayor, picking up 17 votes to Cllr Thorne's eight.

Cllr Thorne said he would not try to stand as mayor again on May 18.

Cllr Nazam had been proposed by Cllr Peter Corkindale, who said: "He can always be relied upon to look at the wider picture. He's been chairman of our finance committee, been a governor on Airedale NHS Trust Foundation and has worked with several charities.

"Even though he works in the Keighley MP's office he's an independent councillor and always has been independent."

Cllr Thorne was proposed by Cllr Philip Shaw, who said his four decades of public service in Keighley and Bradford districts and his involvement with Bradford Disability Sports & Leisure meant he had a wealth of useful experience for the mayoral role.

Following Cllr Nazam's selection, Cllr Ian Dermondy was chosen unopposed to be deputy mayor for 2017/18.

Both he and Cllr Nazam will be confirmed in their roles at the mayor making ceremony next month.

Cllr Nazam said he would focus on three priorities during his term.

These will include ensuring good relationships between elected councillors and town council officers, encouraging more people from different backgrounds to get involved with the council and working closely with Bradford Council, the health sector and West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner.