CIVIC dignitaries have declared they will not be attending any events held by a town mayor at the centre of a row over gay people and Islam.

The mayor of Barnard Castle Town Council, Sandra Moorhouse, and deputy mayor John Blissett, confirmed they had made the decision not to attend any civic functions held by the mayor of Ferryhill, Richard Smith.

Councillor Moorhouse said the decision had been made "in view of his [Cllr Smith's] published beliefs" and that the pair would not be attending any events while Councillor Smith was in office.

Cllr Moorhouse said: "We do not want to be seen to be supporting his views in any way."

Calls for Cllr Smith to step down from his role were made last week when he shared Facebook posts including an anti-gay pride activist's video.

Cllr Smith, who is pastor at the Immanuel Christian Fellowship, based in Ferryhill, has since deleted the posts but said they were made on his personal page and "not connected in any way to my role as the mayor of Ferryhill or as a councillor".