Infighting by members could put the future of Whitehaven Town Council at risk, its mayor warns.

Councillor Brian O’Kane pleaded with members to stop “adding to the town’s problems” by arguing.

At a meeting held via Zoom last Thursday, he told the town council he had heard a conversation between members of the public talking of setting up a petition to get rid of the authority.

He said: “This was due to something that had appeared on social media.

“After all the hard work that everybody has done, it’s a big worry.

“As councillors, everybody is a volunteer and everybody is doing their best.

“We’re all human and we make mistakes, but what we want is the best for our town.”

Coun O’Kane added that many people were currently facing hardship due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

He said that councillors should focus on what they can do to help residents and businesses, rather than argue.

He added: “We’re here charged to do something on behalf of the town.

“We can argue, but whatever happens, at the end of a meeting there is a vote either for or against.

“I disagreed with someone earlier in this meeting, but after hearing the arguments I changed my mind.

“We should be working as a team, not just argue.

“The town council shouldn’t be adding to the town’s problems, we should be solving them.”

Councillor Charles Maudling also said councillors were part of a team working for the betterment of the town.

He said: "Councillors shouldn't run to the media or social media to make defamatory comments.

"People looking on there are calling the town council a joke.

"I just wish people had the face to call councillors and have arguments face to face or directly."

Last month a similar plea was issued by Julie Rayson, the newly elected vice chairman of Whitehaven Town Council.

At the time, she said: “We need to have more respect for each other, it doesn’t look good that we’re having arguments in public."