COUNCILLOR Tony Dobson has been named as the new Mayor of Hyndburn amid claims that the ruling Tory group's original choice lost his seat in last week's elections.

The name of the next Mayor is usually announced in January but, following delays, rumours had been circulating that Councillor Siddique Kazi was front runner to take up the ceremonial position.

However, in Thursday's elections he lost his Central ward seat to Labour newcomer Mohammed Ayub.

Following his ousting, he confirmed he had been due to become the Mayor, a claim later denied by council leader Peter Britcliffe.

On Wednesday it was announced that Councillor Dobson will resign as deputy leader of the council and take over the reins from Councillor Mohamed Rahman next week.

Speaking after the count, businessman Mr Kazi said: "I'm really disappointed because I was going to be the first Kashmiri Mayor of Hyndburn.

"I will continue working for the community even though I have lost my seat on the council."

However, despite Mr Kazi's comments, Councillor Peter Britcliffe refused to confirm if he had ever been in the frame as Conservative Mayor.

He said: "I'm dreadfully sorry to lose him. He has been an excellent councillor and he's done some wonderful work for the people of Central."

He later added: "The Conservative group is delighted to put Tony Dobson forward.

"It will be really good to have a young Mayor and his wife Trish, who are 40 and 33, as Hyndburn's first citizens."

They will be sworn in as Mayor and Mayoress on Wednesday ahead of the civic Mayor-making ceremony on 30 June.

A delighted Councillor Dobson said: "I'm very pleased and privileged and looking forward to representing Hyndburn throughout Lancashire and the North West. I'm really chuffed.

"Now I have got to try and control the rabble at the next council meeting."

Councillor Dobson, who lives off New Lane, Oswaldtwistle, has been on the council since 2000. A pub and house landlord, he and his wife have two children, Daniel, 18 months, and Matthew, five.

Councillor Jean Lockwood will become the Mayor's Consort and Councillor Peter Clarke will take over as deputy leader of the council.