A Bradford councillor who was at the centre of a racism row over the selection of the next Lord Mayor has resigned from the Conservatives.

Councillor Arshad Hussain (Toller) last month accused the group of discrimination over a secret ballot among Tory councillors to select the district’s first citizen.

He expected to be successful as he was the longest-serving candidate, having first been elected in 1995. But he lost the ballot to Worth Valley councillor Peter Hill and also lost out on the Deputy Lord Mayor role to Councillor Mohammed Jamil.

Coun Hussain had a meeting last week with Conservative group leader Kris Hopkins, at which, Coun Hopkins said, he had been told to apologise to members for his “extremely offensive” comments.

Coun Hopkins said that at Monday night’s group meeting Coun Hussain failed to offer such an apology and instead announced his intention to resign from the Conservative group.

“The accusation of racism is an extremely serious claim to make and cannot go unchallenged,” said Coun Hopkins.

“There is no evidence that the election process for the Lord Mayoralty was corrupted in any way, let alone influenced by racist intent.

“One can therefore only conclude that Coun Hussain’s comments were those of a poor loser in which he sought to use the racist card to get his own way.”

Coun Hussain, 40, told the Telegraph & Argus: “I have served the group for many years and there are a lot of colleagues that I continue to have a great deal of time for.

“However I have become increasingly disillusioned with the Council’s lack of effective leadership and direction.

“There is no real appetite to tackle the issues that face inner-city wards like mine and too much energy is expended pursuing personal ambitions at the expense of the people of Bradford. I have decided to put the future of Bradford first and that means that I cannot continue to support this Conservative administration.”

Coun Hopkins said Coun Hussain had not previously raised any of those issues. “On Monday evening his only concern was his failure to be elected to the position of Lord Mayor,” he said.

Coun Hussain will continue to represent his ward as an Independent.

e-mail: jo.winrow@telegraphandargus.co.uk