Sandwell councillor Richard Marshall quits cabinet role

image copyright@smethwick14
image captionRichard Marshall had been Sandwell Council's cabinet member for leisure

A councillor has stepped down from his cabinet role amid an inquiry into offensive messages about colleagues.

A blogger published WhatsApp messages appearing to come from a number registered to Labour-run Sandwell Council's Richard Marshall.

The messages compared the appearance of two female councillors in Sandwell, describing sexual acts in the process.

Labour's Mr Marshall said the comments had been misrepresented, but added he had referred himself for investigation.

Another message urged the blogger to attack the women online.

Mr Marshall, elected as the authority's councillor for Smethwick in 2014, said he wanted a "clear and transparent investigation" to take place.

"I would like this matter thoroughly and independently investigated.

"Unlike Parliament, there is a proper standards process in local government and as such I have self-referred the complaint against me to SMBC's monitoring officer."

'Robustly investigated'

Councillor Maria Crompton, one of those named in the messages, said it was "too little too late" and asked for Mr Marshall to be suspended from the Labour party.

West Bromwich West MP Adrian Bailey has also called on Labour to suspend the senior councillor, who was the cabinet member for leisure.

Two separate complaints against Mr Marshall, different from his self-referral, have also been recently received by the local authority's monitoring officer.

Leader of Sandwell Council Steve Eling said: "Councillor Richard Marshall has voluntarily stepped aside from cabinet duties.

"All complaints are taken seriously and are robustly investigated."

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