Pop icon Ronan Keating has waded in to the battle for control at Stobart Group by leaping to the defence of Cumbrian entrepreneur Andrew Tinkler on Twitter.

Mr Keating – who recently wowed the crowds at Cartmel Racecourse as part of the nationwide Boyzone 25-year anniversary tour – described comments made by Stobart Group company chiefs about Mr Tinkler as “absolutely disgraceful”.

His comments were in response and interview in the Financial Times with William Stobart, who attacked the “current stewards of the business” for perusing “a vindictive campaign” against former chief executive Mr Tinkler.

Mr Tinkler was sacked as executive director after the man who replaced him as chief executive, Warwick Brady, accused him of trying to regain control of the company.

However, Mr Tinkler is currently pursuing a civil claim against the company to be reinstated, according to the FT article.

In the tweet, Mr Keating said: “Absolutely disgraceful what they are saying about our friend @Andrew_Tinkler. The company would not be where it is without him. Love this article. Well done William Stobart”.

In the article, Mr Stobart accused Mr Brady and current chairman Iain Ferguson of making “a bad situation 10 times worse — they have gone way too far”.

He added: “I fear that if this goes on much longer it will have a lasting effect on the company, its employees and its customers.”

In a statement, Stobart Group said it refuted the allegations made by Mr Stobart.

The latest twist in the long-running battle at the top of the infrastructure and support services company comes in a week when shareholders will vote on the re-election of Mr Ferguson as chairman – a move backed by the Stobart Group board and the company’s largest shareholder Invesco.

The vote – which will be made at its Annual General Meeting on Friday – will come 12 days ahead of an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM), which has been called to vote on whether to elect Edinburgh Woollen Mill tycoon and Cumbria’s riches man, Philip Day to the board.

The resolution has been put forward by Andrew Tinkler, Allan Jenkinson and funds acting through Woodford Investment Management Limited, who between them hold more than 33 per cent of the company’s voting capital.

They want shareholders to elect Mr Day to the board, and then for the board to vote on whether he should become chairman.

Stobart Group has urged shareholders to reject the move, and the potential change of leadership, which has been at the centre of the bitter battle between the company and Mr Tinkler.

Mr Tinkler says change is needed, citing serious differences over the strategic direction of a company he is widely credited with building in to a success.

Stobart Group have launched legal proceedings against Mr Tinkler for, among other things, an alleged breach of contract and an alleged breach of fiduciary [legal or ethical] duty.

Mr Tinkler has responded by issuing legal proceedings against five board members for comments made in a regulatory statement that he said contained “false and defamatory material about me”.

Both the AGM and the EGM, which will be held on Wednesday, July 18, will take place on the island of Guernsey, where the company is headquartered.