The leader of a county council's Labour group may be forced to pay back £80,000 in allowances after it emerged he had not been legally entitled to hold political office for the past five years.
As revealed in The Birmingham Post last week, Peter Pinfield, who stood in and won the Droitwich West ward in Thursday's Worcestershire County Council elections, has occupied a politically-restricted management position in Dudley Council's social services department since 2000.
Local authority sources said arrangements were being made for Mr Pinfield to pay back allowances given to him over the past five years, including £17,000 a year as Labour group leader.
Mr Pinfield denied he had been asked to pay back the money.
One former councillor, recently forced to resign from her role as education cabinet member after a Labour challenge, has already called for an inquiry into the situation.
June Longmuir, who became embroiled in a row over school closures with Mr Pinfield's group, said she "deplored" his actions.
County councillors were initially informed in a letter from legal officers last week that Mr Pinfield had held the social services post for about a year. However, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council chief executive Andrew Sparke told The Pos t Mr Pinfield had been in the role for five years.
He reached a pay scale in 2000 which meant that, under legislation introduced in the late 1980s, he was unable to hold political office.
Mr Pinfield, who was leader of Droitwich Town Council in the 1990s, said: "Nobody has asked me to pay back the allowances I have received over the years, but if they did I would give it full consideration because I want to do things properly."
Mr Pinfield will be allowed to take a demotion at Dudley Social Services which will put him under the politically-restricted limit. However, it is believed a legal challenge would succeed in forcing a by-election because Mr Pinfield's candidate nomination forms were submitted while he was still employed in a politicallyrestricted position.
Worcestershire County Council said it immediately disqualified Mr Pinfield as a councillor when it was informed of his job.
It added: "At the moment our legal advice means that his demotion at Dudley Council means he is not precluded from signing on as a councillor."