Deputy county council leader David Sprason sacked from post but escapes suspension
The deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council has been sacked for speaking to the Leicester Mercury about a pornographic DVD that was found in his council computer.
County Hall's Tory Group met yesterday to discuss what sanctions to take against councillor David Sprason.
His Conservative colleagues spent an hour and a half behind closed doors discussing recommendations that Coun Sprason be dismissed from his senior posts and suspended from the party for two months.
He argued his case before them, and today the party said it would stop short of suspension as he had apologised.
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Coun Sprason will however not be re-appointed as deputy leader or hold any other executive role on the council as a Tory.
He voluntarily and temporarily stepped down from his roles as deputy leader and cabinet member in November after a letter was leaked to the Mercury which revealed that, in 2007, a hardcore pornographic DVD was found by a technician in Coun Sprason's council-owned lap top.
It said the film did not contain any illegal material, but he was warned by the council solicitor not to view such films on a council device again.
Party whips launched an investigation when an interview Coun Sprason gave to the Mercury insisting he was not embarrassed about the DVD resulted in widespread national media coverage.
In a statement, the Conservative group said today: "In view of Mr Sprason's willingness to make a full, written public apology and the fact he has taken no part in any group activities since November 22 the group decided there was no need to impose a further period of effective suspension.
"Mr Sprason accepted his error of judgement had caused damage to the reputations and standing of both the county council and the Conservative Group."
Tory group leader Councillor Nick Rushton said: "David has paid an extremely high price for his mistake in giving an interview to the press which has damaged the reputation of the group and the county council.
"I am satisfied with the group's unanimous decision to impose these tough sanctions on Mr Sprason.
"It has been my primary concern to restore the reputation of the county council since becoming leader.
"I believe the group has done that in removing Mr Sprason from all senior positions."
Councillor Byron Rhodes was elected unopposed as the new deputy leader of the Conservative group and the council.