A SOUTHEND councillor has refused to apologise for calling the mayor a “nob”.

In a letter to the Echo published last month, Lib Dem councillor Ric Morgan said he had been working on the seafront during the airshow when the “nobs” were having lunch at the Cliffs Pavilion.

Southend mayor, Lib Dem councillor Brian Smith, was one of only three people at the lunch on bank holiday Monday, even though the council had pre-booked and paid for 60 places.

Shoebury Conservatives accused Mr Morgan of bringing the office of mayor into disrepute and demanded an apology.

However, Mr Morgan has stood by his comments and urged his opponents to check the dictionary definition of the word.

West Shoebury Tory councillor Derek Jarvis said: “Never in my years as a local councillor have I heard of a councillor calling a current serving mayor a nob publicly, especially as they belong to the same party.

“The mayoralty is a fine office and a tradition that should be respected by all councillors and not brought into disrepute in this way.”

Mr Jarvis, who is also the councillor responsible for culture, was one of just 20 people who attended the £50-a-head meal at the Cliffs Pavilion on the Sunday of the airshow.

Fifty places had been booked that day.

Mr Jarvis, who paid for a ticket to the meal, added: “I also attended this event and feel deeply hurt.

“Councillor Morgan should publically withdraw these hurtful and disgraceful comments.”

Only three people, the mayor, his wife and a council official attended a second meal at the restaurant when 60 places had been reserved on the bank holiday Monday.

It is estimated up to £5,500 of taxpayers’ cash was wasted on the no-show dinners.

Mr Morgan, councillor for Prittlewell, said he stood by his comments and had not meant any offence by his use of the word nob.

He said: “Councillor Jarvis should check his dictionary.

“The term nob is an old fashioned term for a socially exalted person.”

Luckily for Mr Morgan, the mayor took the remark in the spirit in which it was intended.

Mr Smith said: “I took it as a compliment.

“It is my understanding a nob is someone who is a well respected member of the establishment.

“It’s quite an achievement.”

The Collins English Dictionary defines the noun nob as British sland which means a person of weath or social distinction.