DUDLEY’S council leader has denied allegations of inappropriate conduct made against him by a senior female cabinet member.

Cradley and Wollescote councillor Natalie Neale, Dudley Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, last week emailed council leader Councillor Patrick Harley condemning his leadership and informing him she would be resigning unless he quits his top post.

She said in her message, emailed to Cllr Harley and members of Dudley’s Conservative and Labour parties, that she felt unable to fulfil her senior role “due to feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable” in Cllr Harley’s presence.

She added that she'd had made a complaint to the council about alleged unacceptable behaviour.

Cllr Harley, however, has denied the allegation and he said today (Wednesday June 21) that he has now accepted Cllr Neale’s resignation and already installed a replacement.

He said: "There was a relationship which ended earlier this year.

“I totally refute the allegations in her email to both political groups and have begun legal proceedings to protect my reputation. Due to this I have nothing further to add at this moment.”

Cllr Neale has not responded to requests for comment.

Meanwhile, senior female Dudley Labour Party members have called for an extraordinary meeting of the council to be held – with the party intent on bringing a vote of no confidence against Cllr Harley.

A spokesperson for Dudley Council said: "A request has been received and accepted for an extraordinary meeting. No date has yet been arranged.

“Last week there was a discussion about a proposed complaint, however, no formal complaint has been received.”

Councillor Matt Rogers has been appointed as the new cabinet member for adult social care.

Cllr Harley said: “It’s a promotion that’s long overdue.”