Sandwell Council Councillor Richard Marshall suspended over lewd remarks claims
A senior councillor has been suspended by the Labour party following allegations he sent offensive messages about female colleagues.
Sandwell Council's Richard Marshall has been accused of sending WhatsApp messages containing derogatory and sexually explicit remarks about councillors Olwen Jones and Maria Crompton.
He said he was told last week that he had been placed on a temporary suspension pending the results of an inquiry by the party's ruling NEC.
However Mr Marshall described the move as 'irrelevant' as he is standing down from the council and will not be defending his Smethwick ward seat in May's local elections.
He told the Express & Star: "I had an email last week notifying me that I had been temporarily suspended while it goes through the NEC inquiry panel.
"As far as I am concerned it is irrelevant anyway as I won't be re-standing in May."
Mr Marshall has represented Smethwick since 2014.
He stood down as cabinet member for leisure in November following the complaints, which had first come to light two months earlier.
The allegations are also the subject of a police investigation.
Labour's West Bromwich West MP Adrian Bailey said today: "The decision is welcome, but questions must be asked why it has taken over six months to get to this stage.
"And questions must also be asked about the leader of the council for not suspending him immediately."
Labour's West Midlands regional office refused to confirm Mr Marshall's suspension, with a spokesman saying: "We do not normally comment on individual cases."
However, the office made an official announcement when Councillor Mahboob Hussain was suspended in May 2016.
Councillor Crompton said she was appalled that regional bosses seemed 'completely unwilling' to notify her of any developments regarding her complaint.
"He [Richard Marshall] has been told, but it really would have been nice of them to tell me," she said.
Sandwell Council leader Steve Eling also claimed to be in the dark over the suspension.
"I have received no formal notification of a suspension or any details to do with a suspension," he said.
Mr Marshall was not put forward by Labour for re-selection for May's council elections. He has said he wants the allegations to be 'thoroughly and independently investigated'.