Birmingham Council leader Ian Ward flies on family holiday during local Labour crisis

Ian Ward has flown on a family holiday to Rome Credit: Handout / PA

Birmingham City Council's leader has flown on a 'family break' to Rome amid the ongoing crisis surrounding the local labour group, ITV News Central can reveal.

Councillor Ian Ward, who has held the position since 2017, has re-applied for the position of Council Leader after a report branded the local Labour group to be 'dysfunctional.'

Councillor Ward will face an interview panel staffed by Labour's NEC (National Executive Committee) tomorrow.

ITV News Central understands those interviews are to take place via video call, allowing them to happen internationally.

A source close to the Leader said: "Councillor Ward is on a pre-arranged short family break and will be attending his interview tomorrow."

Another Labour source, who wants Cllr Ward removed from office, said: "Apparently he's in Rome, doesn't this just show that he's not serious about continuing as leader of the Labour group."

An Annual General Meeting of the Birmingham Labour Group is due to be held on Sunday at midday at the city's Council House.

It is expected that all Labour councillors attend this in person to allow for voting to take place to fill the positions.

Mr Ward is said to have made the interview panel aware that he will be out of the country for his interview.