A BURY councillor has been told he must offer a written apology after using "inappropriate language" while sitting on an interview panel.

Conservative Cllr Bob Caserta, who represents Pilkington Park in Whitefield, appeared before a Standards Sub-Committee last month, where he was found to have committed four breaches of the Code of Conduct for Councillors and Other Voting Representatives.

The reprimand follows an incident concerning discriminatory questions and remarks made by Cllr Caserta during the interview process to recruit a senior officer within Bury Council, on July 14 last year.

A Labour source told the Bury Times: "He (Cllr Caserta) referred to litter 'grot spots in' Sedgley and remarked that it would be difficult communicating with residents 'unless you are able to speak Hebrew'".

It is also understood that Cllr Caserta had already asked the interviewee if she would be able to carry out the role due to having two young children.

Following the interview, a complaint was made by Cllr Alan Quinn ,which was considered in the first instance by the Council’s Monitoring Officer and the Independent Person and following an investigation undertaken by an Independent Investigating Officer and the failure of local resolution, a standards sub-committee was convened.

Cllr Caserta was found to have "used inappropriate language that was disrespectful and wholly inappropriate" and which "may affect Bury Council's ability to recruit high calibre candidates in the future".

A unanimous decision was made by the committee to instruct the Monitoring Officer to arrange training for Cllr Caserta on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and to recommend that he not be put forward for recruitment panels until training has been undertaken.

An "unequivocal written apology" must also be offered to Cllr Quinn.

In 2016, Cllr Caserta was asked to apologise to Cllr Jane Black, who represents St Mary's Ward in Prestwich, after he wrote her an email questioning whether Cllr Black, who is Jewish, would consider her position with the Labour Party given that some of its members elsewhere in the country had expressed anti-Semitic sentiment.

Labour councillors made a formal complaint to the council, claiming the email breached the code of conduct that all councillors must observe.

Cllr Nick Jones, Leader of the Conservative Group in Bury, said: "There have been a number of Standards complaints against Conservative councillors in Bury some of which have resulted in hearings.

"The contents of those complaints were decided by the individual panels themselves on advice of a barrister engaged by Bury Council solely for the purpose of supporting those hearings. Bury Council and the panel decided not to hear the hearings in public to protect the anonymity of certain Officers.

"As such the only public comment that can be made is to confirm that which is outlined in the decision notice on the Bury MBC website."