A FORMER Romsey mayor caught up in a race row has been been expelled from the Conservative Party.

However, Councillor Ian Hibberd claims the decision is an "over reaction".

The prominent Tory councillor was suspended after making a racist comment on Facebook about Wellow parish councillor Harmeet Singh Brar in May.

Following an investigation into the matter, the Romsey and Southampton North Conservative Association (RSNCA) held an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday evening at which Cllr Hibberd's fate was the only item on the agenda.

Following the meeting they issued the following short statement: "The executive council of Romsey and Southampton North Conservative Association has expelled Cllr Ian Hibberd from the Conservative Party with immediate effect.”

Commenting on his expulsion, Cllr Hibberd, who represents Romsey Extra on Test Valley Borough Council, said: "It's a total over reaction."

"I deplore all this political correctness rubbish.

"I abbreviate the word for Pakistan and the whole world comes down on my head."

He said he would not be changing his political allegiances and would continue to serve as a councillor.

"I've been elected and shall continue to do my duty," he said.

The comment referring to Cllr Brar is not appropriate to print in a family newspaper.

Cllr Hibberd, 68, a former mayor of both Romsey and Test Valley, suspended himself after making the remark on line and apologised, saying: "I’m truly sorry that I used an inappropriate term in a conversation with Mr Brar on social media. I additionally recognise my behaviour has fallen short of that of a Conservative representative and member, and that which I would expect from myself. I have therefore suspended myself from Test Valley Conservative Group."

However, Mr Brar – who resigned from the Conservative Association and joined the Liberal Democrats earlier this year – said Cllr Hibberd should be kicked out of the party for the “ridiculous” slur that harked back to the 1970s.