SUSPENDED Blackburn with Darwen Labour councillor Andy Kay's deputy has been promoted to his job in charge of the borough's finances.

Fellow Blackburn South-East representative Cllr Vicky McGurk took over his post on the council's Executive Board yesterday.

Cllr Kay's post of one of two deputy leaders of the council will remain unfilled until after May 7's local elections.

Borough regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley will now be on sole deputy to council leader Cllr Mohammed Khan.

Cllr Kay has been suspended by Labour nationally over an allegedly anti-Semitic Facebook post and is unable to hold local authority posts pending the result of a party investigation and now sits as an Independent councillor.

Unless he is cleared by May 7, he will be unable to stand as a Labour candidate.

Cllr Kay has said he will 'vigorously defend' himself and denies being anti-Semitic.

Cllr Riley said: "I believe that Vicky, who has been Andy's deputy for finance and governance for two years, has the ability and experience to fill his very large shoes."

Cllr Kaylinked on Facebook to a Guardian article headlined ‘Gaza’s only power plant destroyed in Israel’s most intense airstrike yet’.

He commented: ‘The Jewish state has learnt nothing from the Nazis and the Jewish leaders are worse than the Nazis.’

Cllr Kay and three other Labour councillors who 'liked' the post - Salim Sidat, Pat McFall and Jamie Groves - , were also investigated by Blackburn with Darwen Council over a possible branch of its standards code of conduct after a complaint by Conservative Cllr Paul Marrow.

Borough monitoring officer David Fairclough has now told them: "I consider that there would be no overriding public benefit from carrying out further investigations."