Councillor quits party in protest
A councillor has quit County Hall's Conservative group, saying he is disillusioned with the party's handling of the David Parsons affair.
Councillor Rob Fraser e-mailed Tory officials at Leicestershire County Council yesterdayto resign.
Coun Fraser, who has represented Groby and Ratby for about 20 years, says the council's Conservative group has been left in a total mess following Coun Parsons' resignation this year.
The former county council leader stood down after being censured by the authority's standards committee over his European travel expenses.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
He breached the councillors' code of conduct when he did not promptly reimburse the county council with cash paid to him for business trips to Europe.
Coun Fraser, who intends to fight the county council election in May as an independent candidate, told the Leicester Mercury: "I am very disillusioned with the Conservatives over the way they have dealt with the former leader.
"They are in a mess and I do not wish to be a part of that. It is sad to see. The reputation of the party has been tainted by the Parsons issue."
When asked how he felt after quitting he said: "I feel like I've had a good wash."
Coun Fraser himself was censured for offensive remarks he made about gypsies and travellers in 2009.
He said he regretted the remarks, for which he was suspended from the party pending his standards hearing. He said: "I was immediately suspended when I was up before standards.
"I can't see why it was different for David Parsons."
"Everybody will have an opinion on me resigning from the Tories, but my family has been terrifically supportive and I hope I can continue to serve the people of Groby and Ratby as a county councillor."
Tory party leader Coun Nick Rushton said: "He has resigned and given his reasons. I've struggled to get him to sign the party rules all summer but he did so eventually on Wednesday. If he hadn't I would have had to suspend him.
"Rob has always been to the right of the party and there are some people who won't be unhappy to see him go.
"He may have a point in that the former leader acted far quicker on these matters than I have acted. However, we have acted as swiftly as possible.
"It is also my understanding that Rob was struggling to get re-selected by the local Conservative association as the candidate for the next election which may explain why he has gone."
Coun Fraser said: "That's not true. One of the reasons I am going is that I don't have faith in the new leadership of the party."