A Labour councillor has been suspended by his party for supporting the Liberal Democrats in a by-election.

County councillor Damian Haywood expressed his support for the Liberal Democrat candidate in the North Shropshire by election in 2021, which was triggered by Owen Paterson's resignation on November 5, 2021.

The by election was won by the Liberal Democrat candidate Helen Morgan, after a 34 per cent swing from the Conservatives to the Liberal Democrats.

READ MORE: Public health and equalities chief resigned over 'Abrahamic religion' tweet

Mr Haywood will now face a six month suspension and it is understood he intends to serve as an independent in the meantime.

The Labour Party confirmed to the Oxford Mail that the councillor is currently suspended by the Labour Party.

When approached for comment, Mr Haywood said: “I broke party rules by advocating support for another party in a parliamentary by election.

“I was wrong to do so, apologised immediately to party members and I accept the sanction put upon me by the party’s executive committee.”

Mr Haywood said he would continue to support the party during his suspension.

The councillor was previously forced to resign as the county council's cabinet member for public health and equalities after a complaint was made against him for an offensive tweet dismissing concerns from Muslims and Catholics over low traffic neighbourhoods in Cowley.

Oxford Mail: A twitter exchange which led to Mr Haywood's resignation from cabinetA twitter exchange which led to Mr Haywood's resignation from cabinet

It followed worries about increased traffic outside a Catholic school and concerns about how worshippers travelling to Friday prayers at mosques in East Oxford would be impacted by the LTN.

Mr Haywood is a supporter of the scheme.

The councillor wrote: "I do not think your Abrahamic religion of several millennia have anything to do with transport invented 100 years ago."

He said at the time: "I apologised for any offence it caused and I deleted it 10 minutes after sending it.

"It was coarse and obviously I need to think again about how I use social media."

Arash Fatemian, shadow cabinet member for public health and equalities in Oxfordshire's Conservative opposition group, said: “All holders of public office need to act with decorum, respect and consideration for others at all times and should all be held to the same standard.”