The leader of Bury Council has accused some Conservatives opponents of "outrageous and disgraceful" slurs about some of his colleagues .

Cllr Eamonn O’Brien claimed on election day on May 5 and the campaign that preceded it some Labour candidates were called "corrupt" and "paedophiles" by Conservative activists, leaving some in tears.

During his speech to the council’s annual general meeting Coun O’Brien said he would ‘not accept’ a continuation of such behaviour and that he had evidence to support his claims.

He said: “There is a darker side to politics and sadly on too many occasions in this campaign and especially on election day those darker sides were on display.

"Without getting into all of the detail I take very seriously my responsibility to my members, their well-being but also the democratic process in Bury.

“I have to say there some quite outrageous and disgraceful examples and sets of behaviour – sadly from the Conservative group opposite.

"Not in their entirety but very much part of their campaign. I think people know me by now I am not a partisan political hack, I’m not hysterical when it comes to party politics.

“But when I have members of my group on a regular basis calling me in tears about what they have experienced, showing me examples of what is being said about them by text message and on social media ranging from corruption, ranging from paedophilia, I take that as a line that should not be crossed.

“I will say it directly to the group opposite, I’m not saying anyone in particular has done anything at this stage, but I will not accept anything like that continuing in our borough.

"I want to make sure there is an investigation and action taken when we have evidence which can support these allegations.

“I will leave it there but this had to be said in the interests of the well-being of our members.”

Cllr Russell Bernstein, who took over as the new Conservative group leader after the elections, used his response speech to outline how his group would approach opposition to Labour and stressed that "we need to conduct ourselves in a respectful and tolerant manner".

He said: “We will effectively challenge and hold to account on behalf of the whole borough this Labour administration.

"We will do this in a responsible manner one that will not automatically assume that just because this administration have put something forward it must be wrong.

“We will call out any issues that we believe are not right and will do all we can to persuade and influence for what we believe are the right changes for all the community.

"There will be many occasions where we will all engage in robust debate that will highlight our political differences.

"We should not be afraid of that because that’s the strength of the great thing that unites us all, democracy.

"However we need to conduct ourselves in a respectful and tolerant manner.”