A former deputy mayor who stepped down in an openness row refused to vote on any matters at the first meeting held since the lockdown.

Carla Arrighi stepped down from her role as vice chairman of Whitehaven Town Council last week.

She claimed that this was due to a lack of openness and transparency in the council and she had called for full council meetings to resume.

The first meeting of the authority took place via conferencing app Zoom on Friday evening.

Coun Arrighi, who represents the Whitehaven South ward, abandoned the meeting around half way through the two-hour conference. She chose not to vote on any agenda item.

Councillor Julie Rayson was elected to replace her.

Coun Brian O'Kane, who is the chairman of the town council, asked coun Arrighi if the wished to express her vote on the choice of deputy mayor.

She said coun Rayson was a "fabulous choice" for the role.

Coun Arrighi added: "What I can't understand is how can we vote for a deputy and not for the mayor, why can't we have this vote?"

Earlier in the meeting it had been proposed the council holds its general meeting next month, however councillors agreed to discuss when and how that might take place at their August meeting.

Coun O'Kane replied: "This isn't up for discussion, if councillor Arrighi doesn't want to vote, it's her choice."

Councillors also voted to approve the authority's financial report and annual returns, but coun Arrighi neither voted in favour nor against recommendations.

She left the meeting before discussions were held around the council's next general meeting, as well as other items including an event to be held in Whitehaven to encourage people back into the town.

She also missed the part of the meeting where councillors have an opportunity to raise any other matters or concerns in their ward.

However she questioned a decision made during lockdown to give £1,000 to a group of organisations sourcing hand sanitiser for care homes and health care settings, as one of those involved was X-Treme fitness, run by coun O'Kane's son-in-law.

Coun O'Kane apologised for failing to declare an interest.

Coun Arrighi also questioned a decision to hire an electrician for work at the authority's offices without going out to tender. But Mr O'Kane said the town council had struggled to obtain quotes and the work needed was urgent.