THE Conservatives took control of a knife-edge council despite calls on their new leader to quit over his handling of the reinstatement of a councillor previously suspended for a ‘racist’ social media post.

More than 50 protesters gathered outside Nelson Town Hall on Thursday night complaining about the decision to bring Earby’s Cllr Rosemary Carroll back into the Tory group after May 3’s local elections left it one short of a majority.

BBC Sunday Politics interview with the Lancashire Telegraph's political correspondent Bill Jacobs on 

Labour group leader Mohammed Iqbal launched a fierce attack on Tory Group leader Paul White and demanded he resign.

He demanded full details of the ‘diversity training’ Cllr Carroll was said to have undergone.

Cllr White ignored his calls and rejected an accusation by Craven Liberal Democrat Cllr David Whipp that her reinstatement was a ‘cynical ploy’ to regain control.

Cllr Iqbal, who had led a joint Labour/LibDem administration in Pendle for three years, said yesterday: “Cllr White should go over his disgraceful handling of this issue.

“His predecessor Cllr Joe Cooney would be a better leader.

“He at least would have stuck to his guns on this.”

Cllr Carroll was suspended from the party until November and was suddenly brought back into the party on May 3 when the Conservative group needed her vote to take control of the council.

Cllr White said: “This issue is closed.

“Cllr Carroll has been given properly accredited diversity and social media training by the national Conservative party so she does not repeat her mistake of sharing a post she meant to delete.

“Party chairman Brandon Lewis has reviewed the process involved as he promised and is entirely happy with the conduct of Pendle Conservative group. Our priority is to get on with running the council.”