David Parsons condemned after expulsion from Conservative group on Leicestershire County Council
The ruling Conservative group on Leicestershire County Council yesterday voted unanimously to kick out former leader David Parsons – despite him having quit it the day before.
Councillor Parsons resigned on Tuesday, within half an hour of being shown the findings and recommendations of an investigation by Tory whips into whether he had broken party rules.
That followed his censure earlier this year by the county council's standards committee for not promptly repaying cash owed to the authority which he had claimed for European travel expenses.
That censure forced his resignation as council leader.
Yesterday, current leader Coun Nick Rushton said: "Despite David Parsons stepping down, we have still disciplined him as strictly as possible. We want to show there is no way back for him as a Conservative.
"We are being watched by the Tory Party in London. We need to show the people of Leicestershire and the officer corps at County Hall that we are capable of dealing with our own dirty linen.
"Once he is expelled from the local group, it becomes a very serious matter.
"I won't allow him simply to resign and think he can get away with this.
"It is annoying that he can remain as an independent and continue to draw his salary for another six months, but he was elected by the people not County Hall. We can't get rid of him.
"David Parsons was sent a copy of the report at noon on Tuesday. I had his letter of resignation at 12.12pm."
Yesterday, before the Tory group meeting, Coun Parsons said of his resignation: "It won't make much difference.
"I had already told the leader I wasn't going to stand for the election next May. I did that some time ago."
He also revealed he would not seek re-election as an independent candidate.
Coun Parsons said: "There's political infighting in the Tory group at County Hall that doesn't help me serve the people of Kirby Muxloe and Leicester Forest East."
"I have told the leader he can continue to rely on my support in the chamber. I am a loyal Conservative but I do have some issues with the Tory group at County Hall.
"Leaving the Conservative group is a positive thing. The politics is venomous within the group."
He said he wanted to remain as a Tory on Blaby District Council representing Muxloe ward.
"There are two great threats to people in my area. One is lorries in Kirby Muxloe and the other is the massive development at Lubbesthorpe.
"I will continue to work hard to represent people on those matters," he said.
Coun Parsons declined to speak about the conduct report, saying: "I'm not going to comment on that as I am not in the Conservative group."
He was unavailable to comment after yesterday's Tory group meeting.
Coun Rushton denied Coun Parsons had previously informed him he would be leaving the authority in May.
He said: "That's just not true and there is no infighting. The party has never been so united."
He said he would be urging Blaby District Council's Tory group and Charnwood Conservative Association to follow his lead and expel Coun Parsons.
Blaby District Council leader Ernie White declined to comment but a senior Tory source at the council said: "There cannot be a brick wall between County Hall and Blaby.
"If the party is brought into disrepute, that cannot be ignored.
"His position will be considered."
Hanif Asmal, chairman of Charnwood Conservative Association, of which Coun Parsons is still a member, said: "I will look at the circumstances and make a judgement on it."