Labour has suspended the leader of a major council following a lengthy investigation by the party’s National Executive Committee
The SKWAWKBOX has covered at length the unfolding scandals and allegations in the West Midlands borough of Sandwell – the heartland of the Labour right, which covers the seat of right-wing MPs Tom Watson and John Spellar and the HQ of Labour First – and has broken a series of exclusives.
The borough’s Local Campaign Forum (LCF), the body that oversees candidate selections and election campaigns in the area, was suspended last year in a move which sent tremors through the Labour right nationally.
The SKWAWKBOX has learned this morning that council leader Cllr Steve Eling – who is alleged to have bullied a female councillor and the former deputy chief executive of the council and to have pressured police to expend disproportionate resources pursuing an inconvenient local blogger – has been suspended following a long investigation by representatives of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) into the behaviour of local Labour bodies.
An NEC source told the SKWAWKBOX:
A report with a number of recommendations was presented to the NEC and was agreed unanimously – including the administrative suspension of Steve Eling. The report was anonymised and covered a number of individuals, but it did refer to the council leader so he was the only identifiable person.An NEC soiurce
Eling, considered a close ally of the two local MPs, is understood to have called an emergency meeting of the council’s cabinet this morning, which is already underway.
The suspension automatically removes Eling as leader of the council’s Labour group, but the party does not have the power to remove him as council leader, although the matter of a new leader is likely to be tabled by councillors at the first opportunity.
Steve Eling, who was informed of his suspension last night, has been asked to comment.
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