A COUNCILLOR has called for the suspension of a parish council chairwoman, following an Observer investigation.

Last week, the Observer reported how Cllr Shadia Akbar, the chair of Wexham Court Parish Council, had allegedly sent texts indicating she had wanted an all-Muslim leadership. Cllr Akbar denied she ever wrote the WhatsApp messages in question.

A spokeswoman for Slough Borough Council has clarified that the matter of the texts is ‘with the monitoring officer’. This does not mean an investigation is ongoing – only that the authority is aware of it, and may look into it.

This week Cllr Rayman Bains, the deputy leader of the Slough Conservatives, called on the council to suspend Cllr Akbar while conducting a full investigation.

Cllr Bains said: “The council is becoming quite adept at mishandling investigations into senior employees and elected members of the ruling group. The council has proven time and time it’s unable to objectively and independently investigate serious allegations of abuse, bullying and discrimination which is why this case and others should be investigated by an independent board going forward.

“These allegations of racial discrimination are serious and need to be treated as such and not just brushed aside which this council has reputation of doing.”

Cllr Bains issued the call after the council said last week that it had found no case to answer in relation to the allegations against Cllr Akbar. He also called for more clarity about how the council handles such investigations.

Cllr Bains said: “They are very serious allegations, but it seems like they are unsure how to investigate. It’s a shambles.

“We need an independent group that acts on behalf on the diverse community of Slough not on protecting the interests of the Slough Labour Party.

“The Labour Party should heed the lessons from the ex-leader (Sohail Munawar) and suspend her while this case is properly investigated.”

Cllr Sabia Hussain, the deputy leader of the council, said: “Her behaviour would likely be a breach of the Code of Conduct if found true. Politicians must represent all communities, not just their own.

“This is something for the Labour Party to investigate, but the issues raised here are for all political parties to look at.

“We shouldn’t be complacent just because we don’t have the problems that other towns do.”

Cllr Akbar said: “As last week’s article said, there is no case to answer. It’s already been investigated, what more do they want?

“I don’t know how they can keep going on with this. There’s nothing more to say.”

Wexham Court Parish Council meets on Tuesday.