CONSERVATIVE councillors have said they will boycott licensing meetings at the town hall until the chairman of the committee stands down after a row erupted over his comments online.

Labour councillor Tahir Rafiq described the Tories as Islamophobic, antisemitic and "plain racist" in posts on Facebook and Twitter last week.

The Unsworth representative, who called on residents to "Vote Labour" in the upcoming general election, also compared the Conservatives to fascists.

He said: "Tory win means fascism wins! Now it's your chance, kick them out. Never forget Windrush project, Muslim women dress insults and Tory disgusting behaviour to Grenfell victims!"

The Conservative deputy leader has now written to the council leader to raise his concerns about the posts on social media.

Cllr Nick Jones described the comments as "vile" and "abusive", claiming that many residents were "appalled" by the language used by a councillor.

The Whitefield councillor also argued that the comments do not "build bridges" between communities and promote "peaceful and harmonious" relationships, making reference to the council's 2020 strategy on communities and partnership.

He said: "Unsworth is home to large Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities. There is a synagogue in the ward, the most northly synagogue in Manchester along with a number of churches from Christian denominations. For many years communities have cohabited in harmony thus the above posting does not represent the community he is elected to serve.

"The post does not reflect that of the Conservative Party nor that of the Conservative Group in Bury. We have elected members from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths and serve all communities across our borough."

Cllr Jones said that his Conservative colleagues will not attend licensing committee meetings while Cllr Rafiq is the chair.

Council leader David Jones said that it is "a shame" that the Conservative group have chosen to withdraw themselves from the licensing committee, describing it as an "important quasi-judicial" function of the council which is not political.

Cllr Rafiq said he has an "excellent relationship" with residents of all faiths in his ward. He said: "I have always spoken against Islamophobia, antisemitism and racism wherever and whenever and will continue to do so on behalf of all communities and residents of my ward and wider."

The matter has been referred to the council's monitoring officer.