Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader steps down from role after fake texts

Stoke-on-Trent City Council deputy leader Paul Shotton has apologised for sending the texts Stoke-on-Trent City Council's former deputy leader Paul Shotton has apologised for sending the texts

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A councillor who was suspended for sending text messages to BBC Radio Stoke pretending to be different people has stepped down as deputy leader.

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 apologised for his actions and said he had been "plain stupid".

Council leader Mohammed Pervez said Mr Shotton had "done the right thing" after making "a huge mistake".

'The right thing'

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

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

Mr Shotton has also stood down from his role as the council's cabinet member for economic development.

Mr Pervez said Mr Shotton "has done the right thing and stood down".

"Paul has made a great contribution to the city over the last few years but has made a huge mistake," he said.

"I welcome his decision. It is the right thing for the city."

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