A TEST VALLEY councillor has been elected as the borough’s new mayor just months after he was suspended by the Tories for posting an allegedly racist post on social media.

Councillor Martin Hatley has been elected as the borough’s new mayor, taking over from former leader, Ian Carr MBE, who was first elected to the council in 1987.

The news of Cllr Hartley’s position as mayor comes after he posted the ‘Learn Japanese in 5 Minutes’ guide on his personal Facebook profile, just a day before Prime Minister Theresa May was to meet Japan’s leader Shinzo Abe.

The post spotted by several residents, anglicised the Asian country’s language, in what Cllr Hatley described as “in the style of humour of The Two Ronnies, or the Carry On films”.

After he was contacted by the Romsey Advertiser Cllr Hatley removed the post, released a public apology, and said he would email fellow councillors to apologise for “any embarrassment caused”.

He said:“I am the least racist person I know.” and promised to be “hyper cautious” before posting on social media in the future.

Test Valley Conservative group said the were “extremely disappointed.”

Cllr Hatley was nominated to be mayor by councillor Gordon Bailey, with his recommendation then seconded by councillor Alan Dowden at Crosfield Hall.

Cllr Hatley said: “I really do appreciate and value this great honour bestowed upon me and I would like to thank, most sincerely, councillors Bailey and Dowden for their kind words in support of my nomination.

“My wife, Jo and I, have thoroughly enjoyed the last year supporting Ian and Beryl Carr as their deputy mayor and mayoress and we treasure the warm welcome we have received everywhere.

“We are therefore really looking forward to the next even busier year.”

Councillor Hatley has chosen three charities to support through his mayoral year.

They are the Boaz Project, which helps young adults with learning difficulties, cancer support charity Jane Scarth House and the Romsey Opportunity Group which encourages children with special needs to learn and socialise together.

Ian Carr MBE, served as mayor on two separate occasions, following his duties in 1995/96 and he also received an MBE for his services to local government last year.

Mr Carr MBE, said: “I would like to thank Martin for the very kind words.

“I would also like to thank the many councillors, officers and members of the public who have offered kind words.”