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Sandwell councillors accused of breaking Covid-19 rules

By George Makin | Sandwell | Coronavirus | Published:

Councillors in the West Midlands’ worst coronavirus hotspot are being investigated for allegedly breaking Covid-19 rules.

Sandwell Council has begun inquiries into allegations following complaints from the public.

The council has the highest rate of infections in the West Midlands.

A report to the authority’s ethical standards committee says officers are investigating two councillors while assessing similar allegations against others.

None of those accused have been named.

Sandwell Council

In July, five Sandwell councillors issued a public apology after they were photographed breaking social distancing rules.

Councillors Zahir Hussain, Mushtaq Hussain, Zahoor Ahmed, Mohammed Rouf and Ahmad Bostan said they attended a meeting in a Birmingham restaurant after being told social distancing would be observed.

Councillor Bostan, who is blind, said he had relied on promises by event organisers and was disappointed they had not been kept.

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Ten days ago, Public Health England declared Sandwell an area of concern after cases soared and the town recorded one of highest rates of infection in England.

And on Saturday, health bosses issued an urgent appeal to customers of The Soho Foundry Tavern in Smethwick to self-isolate after three cases were linked to the pub.

Seventy people who attended a barbecue at the Foundry Lane pub on August 2 have been told to stay at home for 14 days and book a test if they experience any symptoms.

In addition to the Covid 19 allegations, the council is also investigating separate claims of inappropriate behaviour towards staff and the disclosure of confidential information.

Councillors will be briefed on the investigations at a meeting of the ethical standards and member development committee on Thursday.

George Makin

By George Makin

Local Democracy Reporting Service

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