IMAGES of two Asian councillors posted on social media during a meeting last week have sparked a racism row.

Cabinet member for communities Tamoor Tariq called Conservative councillor Nick Jones a “racist” during the budget debate.

He later told the Bury Times that his accusation of “casual racism” was prompted by a meme posted by the Young Conservatives Bury Twitter account.

Cllr Tariq said: “For years I have been targeted by Conservative councillors who have refused to call me by my proper name in the chamber, something that never happens with non-white councillors.

“At yesterday’s meeting, I was targeted again on social media by Cllr Nick Jones, who posted a picture of me with the caption “triggered Tamoor”, referencing a gun, which I also perceived to be a threat. He has not done the same for any other councillor.

“Wednesday night was budget council but the Conservatives did not make similar posts for cabinet members with the biggest spending areas such as adult care, children’s services or the environment. All of whom are white.”

Cllr Nick Jones denies posting the image claiming that he does not have access to the Twitter account and does not know who manages it.

Following the row, Conservative leader James Daly demanded that Cllr Tariq apologise and be removed from the council chambers.

He said: “Of all the slanderous disgusting things that have been said in this chamber, what Cllr Tariq has just said is beyond belief. It is completely untrue. He should be ejected from this chamber because anyone who uses that language in here is unfit to sit in this chamber.”

Mayor Jane Black, who chaired the meeting, asked for the matter to be resolved after the meeting in the interest of passing the budget in time.

Cllr Daly added: “We’ll stay in this chamber solely to scrutinise this budget on behalf of local people, but the fact that you sit here and say that is a disgrace.”

Speaking to the Bury Times after the meeting, the Tory leader described Cllr Tariq’s actions as “appalling”.

He rubbished Cllr Tariq’s “unfounded” allegations of racism and is considering taking action against him.

He said: “I think it’s rather pathetic and I think they will say anything to deflect from their poor management of the council’s finances. I feel that they are using these tactics to deflect away from some very serious issues.”

This is the second council meeting in a row that the high-profile Labour councillor has been caught up in a fight.

In January, Conservative councillor Bob Caserta allegedly gestured towards Cllr Tariq in a way which was perceived as a “physical threat”.

In a video of the meeting, Cllr Tariq can be heard asking the Conservative councillor whether he was threatening him, to which Cllr Caserta responded saying, “yes, I am when you use language like that”.

Cllr Caserta has now been reported to the council’s solicitor, but the 71-year-old denies threatening the Labour councillor in the chamber.

He said: “Cllr Tariq used a derogatory word at me across the chamber and my response was to say ‘come outside and repeat it’. What he fails to mention is why I stood up and shouted at him.”

Cllr Daly says that his councillors have his full backing and that he supports Cllr Caserta but would wait for the independent process to take its course.

During that meeting another meme featuring the council leader Rishi Shori was tweeted with a caption of #RattledRishi.

Questions were asked as to why the same hashtag also appeared in the tweet last week about his fellow Asian councillor.

He said: “In almost a decade as a councillor I have never seen such personal abuse of elected members both in the council chamber, in terms of the threats of violence, or personal targeting of individual councillors on social media.

"I will be calling for an urgent meeting with the leaders of the major parties in Bury to discuss how we can bring an end to such childish behaviour. Councillors are role models, they need to start acting as grown-ups.”