EALING Council's ruling Labour group has suffered two departures in as many weeks with the suspension of one councillor pending a report from the Standards Board, and the resignation of another councillor following an unpleasant pre-selection battle.

The losses come after the Ealing Times exposed that a further councillor, Cllr Jasbir Anand, had not paid costs of more than £30,000 to Southall resident Meena Tah following a failed legal dispute, despite being ordered to by the High Court.

Cllr Joginder Saroe was suspended from the Labour group three weeks ago in the expectation of a damning report form the Standards Board.

A spokesman for the Standards Board said the investigation was still "ongoing", but had been put on hold while a seperate investigation by the Department for Work and Pensions could be completed.

It is alleged that Cllr Saroe was claiming incapacity benefit for a bad back yet was caught working out on gym machines and running a business called Sunrise Marquee Hire.

Assistant borough organiser Cllr Stephen George, (Lab), said: "Cllr Saroe is currently under administrative suspension from the Labour group as he is being actively investigated by the Standards Board. This is normal procedure under such circumstances."

As a result, he was unable to stand for re-selection for the up-coming elections on May 4.

A second casualty, Cllr Richard Porter, resigned from the Labour group last week after also failing to be re-selected to stand in the upcoming local elections.

Despite serving his North Greenford ward for more than eight years and having the highest number of votes in the Ealing North constituencies in the last elections, he had failed to be re-selected after an influx of new members effectively ousted him from his seat.

"It is very difficult to prove," he said, "But it is suspicious when around 60 people who never turn up to meetings are organised enough to come and vote for a completely new candidate."

Leader of the opposition, Cllr Jason Stacey, said: "While I am not concerned with the petty infighting in the Labour group in itself, I am concerned with its impact on the running of Ealing Council. When you have a group in control that is clearly fighting with each other, it is not focussing on delivering good services for the residents of the borough."