Birmingham & Black Country

Labour Party suspends Sandwell Council leader Steve Eling

Cllr Steve Eling in front of Sandwell Council house Image copyright Sandwell Council
Image caption Councillor Steve Eling is yet to comment following his suspension from the Labour Party

A council leader has been suspended by the Labour Party following a "complaint".

The decision to suspend councillor Steve Eling, leader of Sandwell Council, was confirmed by the party's National Executive Committee (NEC) earlier. Mr Eling has yet to comment.

It is unclear why he has been suspended but it is understood the NEC is conducting a lengthy investigation.

Now, the Abbey ward councillor can no longer lead Labour's 70 area members.

The group's deputy leader, councillor Syeda Khatun, is expected to take the reins.

It comes after months of internal fighting within the group and a spate of embarrassing allegations involving former council members who have since stepped down.

In a statement, a regional Labour Party spokesman said the party "cannot comment on individual cases" but that it "takes all complaints extremely seriously".

The party said it would "fully investigate in line with [its] rules and procedures in order to take any appropriate disciplinary action".

If the committee's decision is upheld, it may lead to the councillor's de-selection as a candidate in May's election, because suspended members cannot stand for office.

Though he is suspended from party membership, councillor Eling could continue as the leader of the council unless the NEC instructs the Sandwell Labour Group to move a vote of no confidence in him, forcing a formal vote in the council chamber.

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