A newly elected mayor has been suspended by her party for six months over a racist post that appeared on her WhatsApp account.
The Conservative Party imposed the sanction on Walsall councillor Rose Martin, but it does not prevent her from continuing as civic leader.
The offending picture showed five black children looking at a white child under the caption “First day at school for a Ukrainian refugee in South London”.
Ms Martin said she had been hacked.
A resident saw a WhatsApp post and lodged an official complaint with the party at a national level, sparking an official investigation.
Ms Martin previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service her account had been hacked and had reported the matter to the police, however she was unavailable for comment on Wednesday.
The council’s monitoring officer has been informed and investigations are ongoing.
It is understood Ms Martin has time to lodge an appeal against the suspension should she wish to do so, LDRS said.
Mike Bird, the leader of Walsall Council and of the Tory group, said he was awaiting official notification from the national party on the outcome of its investigation.
But he said he was aware she had been given a six-month suspension, directed to undertake diversity training as well as make an apology to the party board.
The suspension does not prevent Ms Martin, who was elected into the role in a ceremony on 23 May, from continuing as an elected member for the Pelsall ward.
She will sit as an independent councillor for the six months before being able to apply to rejoin the party.
Last week, Walsall Labour leader Aftab Nawaz said his group could not support her nomination as mayor due to this issue.
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