A TORY councillor has denied making “discriminatory” comments about Muslims – as a watchdog is being called on to investigate.

Stephen Goldsack told The National “I’m not a racist” following comments said to have been made over a planning application for a mosque.

Fellow North Lanarkshire Council member Shahid Farooq has referred the matter to the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland, claiming Goldsack made “discriminatory” remarks of a type there should be “zero tolerance” to in society.

The SNP group, of which Farooq is a member, wrote to Tory leader Councillor Meghan Gallacher suggesting she urge Goldsack to resign over his “unacceptable” comments.

SNP leader David Stocks said he found it “difficult to see any circumstance where it would be acceptable for him to continue representing all faiths and none”.

However, Gallacher called on the SNP to apologise and Goldsack told this newspaper: “I’m from a mixed-race family, there’s no way I’m a racist. It’s complete nonsense.”

The row – which comes at the start of Muslim holy month of Ramadan – stems from a debate at a planning committee meeting on Thursday. Farooq alleges that Goldsack said: “We can’t give more access to these people.” He is further alleged to have stated: “If it was Church of Scotland, it would be OK.”

However, Goldsack, who represents the Stepps, Chryston and Muirhead ward, said he “didn’t say anything which can be complained about” and denied favouring the Kirk or showing ill-feeling based on race or faith.

The councillor said his objection to the application – which was refused – stemmed from neighbour complaints and a recent incident of disorder outside the property, with the phrase “these people” directed towards individuals, not Muslims in general. Police have confirmed that two men, aged 38 and 39, were charged with a hate crime on March 30.

Charity Darussalam, which operates from the residential building, wanted a change of conditions to allow for Islamic religious instruction and worship throughout the week.

The bid was backed by a 70-strong petition, but council officers recommended refusal over traffic and parking concerns, as well saying it might set a precedent that would “make it difficult for the authority to refuse” similar applications.

Goldsack said of the discrimination complaint: “It’s a desperate way to turn this around because the vote didn’t go their way.”

In his letter to the Commissioner, who investigates complaints against councillors, Farooq said he was acting “with sincere regret”.

Listing the alleged remarks, he went on: “It is clear to me that these comments were discriminatory and I would ask that your office investigates and takes action under the Councillors’ Code of Conduct.

“There must be zero tolerance of language like this in all walks of life, and particularly from elected representatives.”

SNP group leader Stocks said in his letter to Tory counterpart Gallacher: “I am sure you will agree that comments such as these have no place in society and are certainly unacceptable from an elected representative.

“I find it difficult to see any circumstance where it would be acceptable for him to continue representing all faiths and none an would suggest you encourage him to resign.”

Local MSP Fulton MacGregor, who serves on Holyrood’s Equalities and Human Rights Committee, has written to Tory leader Ruth Davidson urging her to suspend Goldsack and investigate the matter.

He said: “Ruth Davidson must suspend this councillor immediately and conduct a full review into not only these latest comments, but the continued discriminatory behaviour of her members.”

In an open letter to Stocks, Gallacher repeated her calls for an apology, and said: “I have full confidence in Councillor Goldsack and I believe that he did not discriminate against any of his constituents, or any of the wider community.”

Labour’s Henry Curran, convener of the planning committee, said he did not hear Goldsack make discriminatory comments, adding that he “would have called it right away” if he had.

Fellow committee member Alan Beveridge, who sits as an independent, said he had not heard the exchange, but added that the row shows why the local authority must record such meetings.

Cameras will be brought in to full council sessions on a trial basis, but Beveridge says this should be policy for all business. He stated: “They should be videoed and minuted.”