KEIGHLEY'S town mayor hit back at his critics after an annual town meeting meeting where he was publicly taken to task for failing to attend important civic events.

Councillor Fulzar Ahmed said he had been "ambushed" by people at the meeting who had not learned the facts behind his time in office.

He explained there were good reasons for his absence from three functions, and pointed out that he and deputy mayor Cllr Peter Corkindale between them attended at least 90 other official engagements over the civic year.

He said the Tewitt Hill Memorial Service, outside Oakworth, did have town council representation despite his absence, as the deputy mayor had been present.

And he said a changeover in town council office staff resulted in an administration error, meaning he never received an official invitation to a locomotive launch at Ingrow.

"The deputy mayor was unable to attend in my place because he was at a funeral," he said. "An apology was sent to the organisers of the launch.

"The Integrated Keighley conference wasn't organised by the town council – though we were one of the sponsors. Neither myself nor the deputy mayor or our locum town clerk received a formal invite to attend the conference."

Cllr Ahmed said the town council has a protocol for mayoral invites, with these initially sent to the town council's own office.

He said the booking form is first reviewed by the office then sent to him so he can confirm availability. If he cannot make the engagement it is then passed to the deputy mayor.

"My record speaks for itself," he said. "Either myself or the deputy mayor went to more than 90 official events across the diverse community I represent.

"I'm sad to see that some people have questioned my attendance record without checking the facts. If they'd wanted, they could have clarified all this at the town council office.

"I've been open, accessible and transparent in engaging with residents and I set up the mayor's surgery so each and every resident would have a chance to come and speak to me about anything they wanted.

"I did not pick and choose what I attended and I'm passionate about representing the town. I'm proud of my record."

Also commenting after the annual town meeting, Cllr Barry Thorne said he felt the the town mayor had been treated unfairly.

"It's inappropriate for councillors to have a go at other councillors, or to have a go at the mayor, when they have ample opportunity to talk to the mayor directly," he said.

"We may disagree but we have a council chamber and our committees for this.

"Fulzar attended more engagements than the previous two mayors combined.

"It's completely normal for different mayors to focus on different kinds of activities during their terms of office. So I publicly support the town mayor for doing things the way he wanted to do them."