A Lancashire county councillor has been suspended from his party following anti-Islamic comments he is alleged to have made on social media.
Conservative Jim Marsh, who is also a South Ribble Borough councillor, is at the centre of an investigation by party bosses.
The action centres around a Facebook message from two years ago that has just surfaced.
In March, 2015, councillor Marsh signed an online petition in support of Pakistan Christian mother, Asian Bibi, sentenced to death in 2010 for blasphemy.
Along with the petition he signed was a comment allegedly denigrating Islam.
Councillor Marsh lives in Hoghton and represents Lostock Hall and Bamber Bridge on the county council and Coupe Green and Gregson Lane on the borough council. He is a former Mayor of South Ribble.
He said he “went along with” the petition” and that the row “seems a bit of a storm in a tea cup”.
Councillor Marsh said: “I regret it bitterly now because it’s a lot of hoo-ha. It’s just unfortunate with the real problems we’ve got in Lancashire today.”
He said of his suspension: “We’ll let it go through its due process and see what happens.”
In an email to South Ribble Borough Council’s Conservative councillors, council leader Peter Mullineaux wrote: “I have to inform you that in my role as Chairman of Ribble Valley Conservative Association & as the Conservative Group Leader at South Ribble, Cllr Jim Marsh has been suspended from the Party & therefore is automatically also suspended from our group until, further notice, pending an investigation taking place regarding his conduct on social media.”
A spokesman for South Ribble Borough Council said: “We have received a complaint and are investigating it in-line with our strict policies and protocols.”