The committee that runs four High Wycombe mosques has hit back at damning claims of “improper conduct” after MP Steve Baker stepped into a long-running disagreement with its members.

Wycombe Islamic Mission and Mosque Trust - which runs Micklefield, Castlefield, Townfield House and Jubilee Road mosques – has been beset with problems amid a dispute between the mosques' management committee and its members, who have urged them to resign and allow for an election to be called.

Last month, the Bucks Free Press reported that Mr Baker presented a petition in the Houses of Parliament from some mosque members – who made "serious allegations of improper conduct".

The petition urges the government minister responsible for charities to instruct the Charity Commission to oversee an AGM of members and some fresh elections.

It says that no elections have been held since November 2015, no AGM has taken place since the current management committee took office and makes allegations of a lack of "financial transparency, scrutiny and oversight" - even though the Trust reportedly had an income of more than half a million pounds in the last financial year.

The current board of trustees for Wycombe Islamic Mission and Mosque Trust was elected for a two-year period in November 2015 but is still in power now.

Hitting back at Mr Baker’s comments in a letter to him seen by the Bucks Free Press, Shafat Ali, Wycombe Islamic Mission and Mosque Trust secretary, said he was “disappointed” with the situation and vehemently refuted the allegations of financial wrongdoing.

He said: “I would make it clear that the management committee (MC) is keen to hold the elections and allow members to elect a new committee in accordance with its governing document.

“However, it has been delayed because we, the MC, have been trying our best to resolve the governance issues of the charity and bring its governing document up to date so it is fit for purpose and in compliance with current law and best practice.”

Mr Ali said that the current governing document is not fit for purpose and the managing committee has been trying to amend the charity’s constitution – but has been having difficulties contacting the 8,000 members on its register, which has not been updated since 2001.

He also agreed that a general meeting should be called – but feared there could be “serious public order issues”, similar to those that happened at Townfield Mosque in Castle Street back in September 2017 when some members became "unhappy" with a newly introduced £25 membership fee.

He said: “The sheer number of names on the register presents issues in terms of formal communication with names on the register, requiring significant manpower, time and cost.

“That is of particular concern in circumstances where the MC believes that a large number of names appearing on the register do not take any active interest in the objects of the charity.

“The scale of the difficulty facing the MC in trying to maintain an accurate, up to date register in such circumstances, is illustrated by the fact that around 8,000 letters were delivered.

“Some 250 were returned with a note saying they are not known at this address. Some 700 individuals on the list applied and became paid members. There has been no response from the rest.”

Denying allegations of a lack of financial transparency and oversight, Mr Ali said: “The MC maintains an open and transparent financial system and accounts have been audited by an independent auditor and submitted to both Companies House and Charity Commission and are available for members of the public to view.

“We would welcome any opportunity to engage with the group on whose behalf you have presented the petition to find a workable way forward in organising a meeting.

“We remain open to any process which will help us to bring a resolution to the dispute and put the governance of this important public community institution on a firm footing from now into the future.”