THE way that the mayor and deputy mayor of Oswestry are elected is "no longer relevant".

That is the view of outgoing mayor, Councillor Sandy Best, after the controversial decision not to elect Cllr Duncan Kerr as the new deputy.

Cllr Kerr was next in line to fill the role in accordance with the list of seniority which is used to elect the mayor and deputy mayor on an annual basis.

But at a recent town council meeting, members voted against Cllr Kerr, and instead elected Cllr Mark Jones to take on the role for 2019/20, and consequently become mayor the following year.

Cllr Best spoke out after members of the public raised strong objections to the way the vote was handled during Wednesday's Markets and Town Centre Committee meeting.

"As the mayor I did not vote on the decision as I felt it appropriate in chairing the meeting to remain impartial," she said.

What has resulted from the decision is that our longstanding process to determine mayor and deputy mayor for each year is no longer relevant in the council chamber and now needs to be revisited."

Cllr Best said she would formally ask for an agenda item later this year to "revisit, and as appropriate, revise the standing order on the election of mayor and deputy mayor".

"This I feel is very important as 2020/21 will be the last year of the term of this council and it is essential that we put in place a process that is relevant and dignified to guide our successors into their term of office from 2021 onwards."

Cllr Best earlier told the meeting that the council has to follow an election process and that it was "not a done deal".

During the public session, Alison Utting said if the decision not to elect Cllr Kerr was to avoid political division, "then it has been about as effective as 'I don't like the fact that this toe's bleeding, fetch me a saw and I will cut this foot off".

Ms Utting – who stressed that she was "not on a political mission" – added that since there was no record of any misdemeanours by Cllr Kerr she was "at a loss to understand why standing orders have been suspended in this way".

The mayor also compared the issue to a "mini-Brexit" where it was a "a bit like the Remainers trying to get a second vote".

Cllr Best added that she also did not like that some councillors had taken the issue onto social media, which "only reached certain people and doesn't take in everybody's opinion".

When challenged on this by Ms Utting, Cllr Best said: "When you put things on social media, it's like a door opening [where] every time something that something is fully debated here, if it doesn't go the way that people like, it goes on social media.

"Therefore it doesn't get properly resolved – it continues and continues."

During the council in which the vote took place, Cllr Peter Cherrington said he believed Cllr Kerr’s “passions” could cause a “conflict of interest” in the council, and proposed Cllr Jones as the deputy mayor elect.

Cllr Kerr was doing community work in Uganda during the vote and clerk David Preston said during Wednesday's committee meeting that the councillor was working overseas.