PENDLE Conservatives have been forced to defend their decision to reinstate a councillor who had been suspended for sharing racist material on social media.

The shadow chancellor John McDonnell said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show it was ‘unacceptable’ to reinstate Earby ward councillor Rosemary Carroll, who served a three month suspension starting in August last year.

Cllr Carroll had shared a post which compared an Asian person to a dog, on Facebook and was deleted shortly after.

The Tory group gained a slim majority majority of one over Labour and the Liberal Democrats, who had run the borough in a coalition for three years in last week's elections.

On the BBC show, Mr McDonnell said: "To have the Conservative Party take control of that council by reinstating a councillor who used the foulest, foulest joke, a racist joke is unacceptable."

Last year Pendle Council decided to ban Cllr Carroll on the council's committees other than the area committee for 12 months.

Cllr Paul White, leader of the Conservative group in the borough, said: "Rosemary Carroll was suspended from the Conservative party in June last year.

"She has maintained that she thought she was deleting a post that had appeared on her news feed and that these are views she has never held.

"She has served her suspension and therefore rejoined the Conservatives prior to the election.

"Following a thorough investigation Rosemary was suspended from the group and upon completion of the suspension she rejoined.

"Rosemary made a mistake in accidentally sharing, rather than deleting the post.

"She was investigated thoroughly.

"All Pendle Conservatives, including Rosemary, have worked hard and succeeded in defeating the BNP in Pendle.

"She worked closely with the Asian community during her mayoral year."

"There is no place for racism of any kind."