EIGHT official complaints have been made about a town mayor at the centre of a row over his social media posts about gay people and Islam.

There have been calls for the Mayor of Ferryhill Richard Smith to step down after he shared posts about gay people being sinners and Islam not being a peaceful religion on Facebook.

The Christian pastor has since deleted the posts, made his Facebook page private and said he regretted any harm caused, adding he would not ‘apologise for the conviction of my faith’.

Durham County Council, which considers any complaints about county and parish councillors, has received eight official complaints about Cllr Smith.

Helen Lynch, Durham County Council’s head of legal and democratic services, said: “A number of complaints have been made in relation to a member of Ferryhill Town Council regarding use of social media.

“These are being considered in accordance with our procedure for the local assessment of complaints.”

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson, Labour members of Ferryhill Town Council and female impersonator Tess Tickle are among those who have called for Cllr Smith’s resignation and more than 500 people have signed a petition urging him to step down.

A number of civic dignitaries including those at Barnard Castle, Spennymoor, Shildon and Bishop Auckland have refused to support any of Cllr Smith’s functions or invite him to their events.