A COUNCILLOR has refused to apologise after he was accused of bringing a town council into disrepute by posting a series of false statements.

Cllr Jack Speight, who represents the Chequerbent ward on Westhoughton Town Council, was asked to apologise for a series of posts he on his website and on Twitter in 2014.

These included claims that he instigated the raising of the union flag over the town hall on Lancashire Day in 2014.

He is also alleged to have said he was the only councillor to vote against two planning applications at Roscoe Farm, when all councillors objected to them.

In a statement at Monday's council meeting, Cllr Jack Speight, who , said: "For months and months this council has been meeting in secret, plotting to undermine me and publicly embarrass me with this list of exaggerated allegations.

"Having received these papers just a few days ago, to expect an answer on all of these points is both unfair and unrealistic.

"That said, attacking a fellow councillor over a sentence in a blog post (long since reworded in response to your concerns), and an 'over-enthusiastic' tweet from three years ago — a tweet for which I was ridiculed and indeed misrepresented — appears petty and vindictive.

"I take my duties seriously and I will always try to do my best for Westhoughton. I am not infallible but I will learn from my mistakes.

"I will agree, disagree, voice concerns and opinions as should any councillor on matters related to the town council.

"However, I will not be bullied and I resent being made to feel uncomfortable in this chamber.

"As an independent councillor I am aware that I am something of a cuckoo in a nest. It is a pity that this seems to upset and rile some of you.

"I do feel politics would be much better with more independents and a less partisan, political point-scoring and sometimes venomous atmosphere."

Cllr Speight said he would respond to each allegation in the future and left the chamber before the discussion, with every other councillor disagreeing with Cllr Speight's words.

Cllr David Wilkinson said: "The issue is quite clear. Statements were made that were factually inaccurate. I think by allowing him to make his statement it has confirmed that Cllr Speight does not understand what he said three years ago was wrong.

"We spent all this time and effort trying to get him to accept that what he said was wrong. This is not some vindictive plot to get him.

"As far as I'm concerned he has made clear that he does not want to apologise and it will be another piece of paper and another statement."

The council will decide what disciplinary action to take against Cllr Speight at a future meeting.

Cllr David Chadwick said: "I take exception to any suggestion that this council is a cabal. We have been trying to persuade Cllr Speight to take ownership of the issues which we have concerns.

"It is not just mine, it is everybody in this room. We all take exception to some of the claims put together.

"There are a whole host of things that are as far from the truth as physically possible. It is not a case of being vindictive, it is getting him to understand the implications of being a bloody councillor.

"We might say things to each other that sometimes are a bit low of the mark but at the end of the day he has got to take ownership of his own actions.

"He was asked to remove certain things off Twitter and Facebook and he still has not done it three years down the line.

"We have trust in the town clerk and the auditors and there have been innumerable occasions where he has failed to support the actions of the town clerk and the report from the auditors."