Fury erupted as a council vote to appoint a new mayor was overshadowed by allegations of homophobia.

Hertsmere Borough Council voted on Wednesday to appoint Conservative mayoral candidate Cllr Rabbi Alan Plancey as new mayor following the death of Cllr Cynthia Barker.

But Labour opposed the move, with the group's deputy leader Cllr Christian Gray accusing Cllr Plancey of using "deeply problematic homophobic language" in a video from 2014.

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Cllr Gray, who is gay, said the video has caused "deep hurt, pain and discomfort".

But members of the Hertsmere Conservatives accused the Labour representative, who nominated his colleague Cllr Richard Butler for the role, of "bringing the council into disrepute".

Even though the meeting was partially online, there was animosity from all sides, with one person heard to whisper "b***h", before deputy mayor Cllr Anne Swerling called a temporary halt.

Council leader Cllr Morris Bright said Cllr Gray was not allowed to "belittle or traduce" another candidate. He said if Cllr Gray could not "behave" the meeting should be adjourned.

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Cllr Morris Bright

Despite being "advised" by head of legal to keep his comments to his nominee only, Cllr Gray was also told it was up to him how he used his two minutes, and Cllr Gray said he would continue his speech as prepared, to which Cllr Bright responded: "Shame on you, shame on you".

Cllr Bright’s colleague Cllr Jean Heywood, who was attending the meeting online from home, shouted "You’re an absolute disgrace Cllr Gray".

Labour’s Cllr Chris Myers, spouse of Cllr Gray, said: "How are openly homophobic councillors not a disgrace and not bringing this council into disrepute, Cllr Heywood" to which she retorted "err, you need to get your facts straight".

As the deputy mayor tried to wrest back control of the proceedings, Cllr Heywood said the situation needed "moving on" and "sorting out", to which Lib Dem councillor Jerry Evans told her to "shut up".

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Cllr Heywood speaking live on the council's Webcast

Someone present and involved in the meeting could then be heard to whisper "b***h" - to which Cllr Heywood responded: "Whoever just called me a b***h had better be sorry when they watch the recording back".

The meeting was then adjourned by the deputy mayor for a few minutes.

After councillors calmed down, Labour nominee Cllr Butler announced his withdrawal from the mayoral vote to enable other business to continue.

Cllr Plancey was voted in as the new Hertsmere mayor, despite all nine of the Labour and Lib Dem councillors voting against his appointment.

Cllr Myers told the chamber he was voting against Cllr Plancey "with all of his big, gay heart", adding it was a "vote for homophobia" in Hertsmere when Cllr Plancey was confirmed as the new mayor.

What were the comments made by Cllr Plancey?

In 2014, Cllr Plancey, who is an Orthodox Rabbi at Borehamwood & Elstree Synagogue, was invited to give his opinion on LGBT issues in a video called Loud, Proud, and Jewish.

In the video, Cllr Plancey explains that "homosexuality lesbian etc, is not permitted in the Jewish law".

He added: "At the very, very beginning, God said even to the animals, he said be fruitful and multiply. The male and female, he created them.

"He didn’t say he created male to male, female to female. He said male and female."

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Mayor of Hertsmere Cllr Alan Plancey

He later went on to say: "As you as a person, I’ll accept but your actions I can’t accept. We will never ever have same sex marriages, never, in the (Jewish) Orthodox scene, next 50, 100, 120, 200 years. That is out. It’s a man and a woman. "

The video Cllr Plancey appeared on in 2014

Cllr Plancey also showed his dislike of demonstrations.

He said: "You get more acceptance, more love if you do it quietly and unobtrusively…you’ll be accepted much, much more within the society."

Speaking ahead of the meeting, Hertsmere Labour councillor Cllr Myers accused Cllr Plancey of "crossing a line" adding it "explicitly enters the territory of homophobic statements".

An open letter from the Labour group to Cllr Plancey, which was published on social media this week, asked the mayoral candidate to "consider and clarify" his position.

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Cllr Gray, left, pictured with his spouse, Cllr Myers

'I was quoting the Torah'

Cllr Plancey said in a letter to his leader, Cllr Morris Bright, that he was "very hurt and saddened" by the accusations.

He added: "For the record I was very clear in my interview all those years year ago that I was quoting the Torah. I stated that it was the homosexual act that was forbidden in the Torah not the people.

"I cannot change the writings and law of the Jews. Yet on a personal level that does not preclude me from being respectful to everyone, which I have sought to be throughout 40 years as a local Rabbi and over ten years as a county and borough councillor."

This paper approached Cllr Plancey for further comments regarding the video from 2014 but he declined to comment.