Council leader considers position after suspension

The leader of Walsall Council has revealed he is "considering" his position after being suspended by the Conservative party.

Mike Bird is subject to a three month suspension following a disciplinary investigation.

He currently remains the leader of the authority with the support of the majority of Conservative councillors, despite calls for him to stand down.

A spokesperson for the Conservative party said the suspension process was confidential.

“The Conservative Party has an established code of conduct and formal processes where complaints can be made in confidence," the spokesperson said.

Mr Bird told the BBC that allegations of racism, made against him by another councillor, had been dismissed by the investigation.

"I was accused of racism, which was absolutely 100% thrown out. I'm not a racist at all. Unfortunately when the race card is on the table, if you don't defend yourself, you're deemed to be racist by default."

'Two scenarios'

Mr Bird has been leader of the authority for three periods since 2009, most recently from May 2018 to present.

The Conservatives continue to control the council following the local elections on 2 May.

A number of councillors, both Labour and Conservative, called for Mr Bird to stand down during the investigation.

He had previously declared confidence that he should continue in the role.

However, this week he told the BBC he was contemplating his decision ahead of a full council meeting on 3 June.

"There are two scenarios here. One is a notice of no confidence, which I don't think will happen. Or I could consider to stand down of my own volition. I'm still considering that position," he said.

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