BLACKBURN with Darwen Council’s former deputy leader has been expelled by the Labour Party over an allegedly anti-Semitic social media post.

Cllr Andy Kay, currently sitting as an independent, is appealing the decision.

His expulsion follows an investigation on behalf of the party’s National Executive Committee.

The 73-year-old, a veteran councillor for 38 of the past 41 years, had to give up his official positions including as borough finance boss after being suspended last month.

Cllr Kay said, who represents Blackburn South-East ward, said yesterday: “I can confirm I have been informed that I have been formally expelled by the Labour Party.

"I have started an appeal against the decision.”.

The complaints stem from a 2014 Facebook post which linked to a Guardian article headlined ‘Gaza’s only power plant destroyed in Israel’s most intense airstrike yet’.

Cllr Kay commented on the post at the time: ‘The Jewish state has learned nothing from the Nazis and the Jewish leaders are worse than the Nazis.’

Its emergence in a national newspaper on the eve of the General Election embarrassed then Labour candidate, now MP Kate Hollern, who had to apologise for ‘liking’ it.

Blackburn South-East ward’s Cllr Kay has vigorously denied being anti-Jewish.

Cllr John Slater, leader of the Blackburn with Darwen Conservative group, said: “At the end of the day, the Labour Party has decided this post was a serious offence and taken the appropriate action.”

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn Labour Party secretary, said: “It is a terrible shame. Andy has never been a racist of any description. He has been a great public servant and loyal member of the Labour Party.

“We shall be supporting him in his appeal.”