LIBERAL Democrats in Pendle have denied a rift, despite a member showing support for a rival election candidate.

Ian Robinson left the party last month, and has since attacked senior party figures for exercising too much control.

He will stand for re-election next month as an independent candidate for Waterside in Colne. His former fellow Waterside and Liberal Democrat member Coun Phil Boyle, is one of those listed as a nominee.

Coun Boyle defended his decision, saying it did not give any indication of how he would vote.

He said: "Why shouldn't I nominate him? He's perfectly entitled to stand and Ian and I are personal friends so I don't see any problem.

"It was the least I could do after he encouraged me to stand last year. It doesn't affect in any way whatsoever how I will vote and who I will support.

"I have never got involved in any arguments Ian had with the party because I think it's demeaning to everyone to make personal comments and I hope everyone in Waterside can work together."

Coun Robinson said: "Phil signed my papers because he's a local community activist whose concern is for the community as opposed to politics. We worked together with the community when we were party colleagues, and we see no reason not to continue to do so."

Pendle's Labour group leader Coun Mohammad Iqbal said that the move showed a growing split among the Lib Dem members - a claim Coun Tony Greaves, Waterside's other Lib Dem representative, denied.

"It clearly shows Coun Greaves is losing his grip on this part," said Coun Iqbal.

But although admitting that Coun Greaves said: "Whilst it's certainly unorthodox, it's no big deal."