Tories tight-lipped as three Wakefield Conservative councillors suspended

Confusion surrounds the identities and political futures of three local councillors who've been suspended by the Conservative Party.

The chairman of the Wakefield Conservative Association said on Monday that three local councillors had been suspended by the party's head office.

The chairman of the Wakefield Conservative Association, David Hopkins, confirmed this week that a trio of elected members were subject to proceedings from the party's national headquarters.

But tight-lipped Tory chiefs have refused to name the councillors concerned or reveal the reasons why their memberships have been suspended.

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Although one senior councillor in Wakefield admitted there had been "rumours" sweeping the local party throughout this week, Conservative Central Office said it would not comment on "ongoing investigations".

The Conservatives hold 11 of the 63 seats on Wakefield Council.

The Tories are the main opposition party in the Wakefield district, holding 11 of the local authority's 63 seats.

Although the reasons for the disciplinary action have yet to emerge, it is understood the cases concern alleged breaches of party rules and are not issues of misconduct in public office. Wakefield Council is not involved with proceedings.

As a result, it is believed the three members concerned can continue to practice as Conservative councillors, for the timebeing at least.

Group leader Councillor Nadeem Ahmed said he was also unaware of the trio's indentities.

Local group leader Nadeem Ahmed said he did not know who the trio were, but said he'd not been told by head office to suspend anyone from the Wakefield Council opposition group.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS): "I've had no emails from the party telling me to remove anyone from the group, which they would if this was a matter of misconduct.

"If this is a case of breaking party rules, they (central office) wouldn't tell me because I wouldn't be involved in that."

Each of the group's elected members was contacted about the issue to ask if they had been suspended.

Deputy group leader Ian Sanders and Councillors Cynthia Binns, Richard Hunt, Nic Stansby, Simon Fishwick, Samantha Harvey, Karl Johnson and Angela Taylor all said they had not been suspended by the party, while Councillor Gill Cruise said she had not been suspended from the local Conservative group.

Coun Sanders said: "I’ve heard all kinds of rumours flying about the last couple of days, but I don’t know anything for sure. I’ve heard different things every day, but it’s not something I’m involved in."

Coun Taylor, who represents Ossett, said: "As far as I'm concerned, the makeup of the group remains the same as before."

Her ward colleague, Coun Nick Farmer, said: "I don't know anything about it, so it's not something I can really comment on."

Local Democracy Reporting Service