THE Green Party has suspended York councillor Dave Taylor for six months over offensive remarks he made following the death of footballer Jackie Charlton.

The Fishergate councillor has also been removed as the chair of City of York Council's children, education & communities policy & scrutiny committee.

An internal investigation by York Green Party has ruled that he had failed to 'uphold the ethical principles of the party' and also brought it into disrepute.

Cllr Taylor sparked a furore last month when he posted comments on Facebook welcoming the death of the former England and Leeds United star because of his involvement in shooting and fishing.

He said: "Jack 'bloodsports' Charlton has died. Good." He initially stood by his comments, saying he was 'sick of the adulation of this animal abuser' but later said he wanted to make a 'full and heartfelt' apology.

He said he was especially sorry for any hurt he may have caused Charlton's family, should news have reached them about his remarks.

He said:"The posting I made on my personal Facebook page was thoughtless and crass in the extreme."

"As many know, I am passionate about animal welfare and on this occasion it caused me to fire from the hip without due consideration to any wider impact. This will never happen again."

He also said he knew next to nothing about football and was 'pretty-much oblivious' to Jack’s standing.

More than 8,000 people have now signed a petition calling for him to be sacked, and the party suspended him last month and launched an investigation.

Green group leader Cllr Andy D’Agorne said today: “Firstly, on behalf of York Green Councillors and York Green Party, I would like to apologise once again to the Charlton family and friends for the offensive remarks and any distress this has caused them at a difficult time.”

“I have worked with Dave for fourteen years and during this time he has been a hard-working councillor and involved in many projects and issues that are important to those living in York. However this does not excuse his actions in this instance.

“My colleagues and I in York Green Party will now focus on the important work we are doing to make our city a fairer and greener place to live and work.”

The Yorkshire & the Humber regional party has ruled that the suspension should last for six months.

The organiser of the petition calling for Cllr Taylor to be sacked, Paul Mitchell, said today he thought the suspension was 'absolutely disgraceful' and he wouldn't rest until the councillor was permanently removed from office,adding:"The Green Party have only taken this action in order to let the dust settle and then get things back to normal."

Meanwhile, Janie Berry, director of governance at the council, said it had received a number of code of conduct complaints and they would now be considered in accordance with the authority's published procedure. 

"Cllr Taylor has been made aware of this," she said.

"We are not able to comment any further at this stage.

Cllr Taylor declined to comment further.