Express & Star

Labour ditches four Sandwell councillors in 'political bloodbath'

Four senior Sandwell councillors have been deselected in what the authority’s former leader has described as a “political bloodbath”.

Former leader, Steve Eling, inset, has stood down from the helm of Sandwell Council

The mayor and deputy mayor of the borough, Joy Edis and Carol Goult, have not been selected by Labour to stand in May’s council elections, along with Wednesbury South councillor Olwen Jones.

Cradley Heath and Old Hill councillor Ann Shackleton, the cabinet member for social care, has also been forced out and is planning to appeal the decision.

Steve Eling, who stepped down as council leader following his suspension by the Labour Party over a complaint, warned Sandwell had got “sucked into a national row” that had engulfed the party.

He claimed that the disruption in the borough was part of attempts to “get at” Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, the MP for West Bromwich East, who is an outspoken critic of racism and bullying in the party at a national level.

“These deselections and my suspension are part of a national political bloodbath,” Mr Eling said.

“What is happening in Sandwell is not isolated, it is happening in other places as well.”

Councillor Goult, who has been a councillor for four years and represents Bristnall, called her deselection “appalling”.

She added: “I am appealing the decision alongside the other deselected councillors.”

New council leader Steve Trow, who was elected on Tuesday, said he wants to bring “stability to politics in Sandwell”.

He said he regretted “all losses” of councillors, adding: “I think this election is about the way in which we work as a group.”

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