Stoke & Staffordshire

Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader suspended over phoney texts

Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader Paul Shotton has apologised for sending the texts
Image caption Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader Paul Shotton has apologised for sending the texts

The deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been suspended after sending text messages to BBC Radio Stoke pretending to be different people.

Paul Shotton sent the messages over six months with comments supportive of the council and the Labour Party and critical of their political rivals.

He has apologised for his actions.

A West Midlands Labour Party spokesman said it was taking the matter very seriously.

'Plain stupid'

The messages were sent under different names, including Jean, Steve, Dave and Alison from different areas of Stoke-on-Trent..

"I apologise fully for my actions," said Mr Shotton.

"They were plain stupid. I will never do anything like this again."

A BBC spokesperson said the truth was revealed after a BBC Radio Stoke journalist recognised the phone number and referred the issue to the council.

"Audience interaction is an important part of our programmes and we read out texts from our listeners in good faith but we are reliant on the audience being upfront and honest about who they are," the spokesperson said.

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