A BROUGHTON farmer is Test Valley's new mayor.

But Conservative, Peter Boulton's, appointment was marred by four Lib Dem members from the North Baddesley and Valley Park wards who refused to back his appointment.

Mr Boulton was unaware of Steve Cosier, Craig Lewis and Alan and Celia Dowden's protest at his and the deputy mayor Jim Neal's appointments. A defiant Steve Cosier also refused to stand in the mayor's honour at the beginning and end of Wednesday's ceremony at Romsey's Crosfield Hall.

Borough leader, Ian Carr, challenged Mr Cosier over his behaviour after the mayor left the room. Mr Carr asked him whether he'd "found" his legs. In response, Mr Cosier said: "Respect has to be earned and this is a democracy." A member of the public shouted out "You're completely ignorant."

Afterwards Mr Cosier said: "I do not take this sort of action lightly and have in past years respected the protocol of the mayor-making ceremony. My refusal to support the incoming mayor and deputy was based on their actions at a recent planning meeting."

Over Wallop ward member Tony Hope nominated Mr Boulton as mayor and this was seconded by Romsey Tadburn ward's Lib Dem member Mark Cooper. Mr Hope said Mr Boulton had the 'right kind of pedigree' for the job.

Mr Cooper said Mr Boulton had been a member of Broughton Parish Council for 35 years and his family roots ran deep into the chalk and clay of the Hampshire landscape.

He said Mr Boulton's knowledge of the countryside and town would be valuable to him.

Mr Boulton and his wife have succeeded Neville and Janet Whiteley-both highly popular with the public. Both were thanked for their mayoral services during the past year.

Messages of support for the new mayor and mayoress came from afar afield as Andover in Massachusetts and nearer home-the Army School of Aviation at Middle Wallop and Sauve in southern France, Broughton's French twin.

Mr Boulton said it was a great honour and privilege to become mayor. "My great-grandfather, William Turner, was mayor of Andover in 1908. It's my ambition to do all I can for the borough," said the new mayor.

Outlining his three aims for the coming year, Mr Boulton said he wanted to promote the best in the Test Valley. Mr Boulton said the "greatest asset of the borough was its people" and he wanted to promote the huge effort put in by volunteers across the Test Valley.

"In addition, you all know that I am a farmer and so I also want to promote our gorgeous countryside and our excellent local foods and produce"

Father-of-three, Mr Boulton, who has lived at Broughton for 58 years, said he wanted to encourage "good relationships" both within the council and the people he'd been elected to serve.