Leicestershire council leader David Parsons will face Tory no-confidence motion
Tory councillors are to vote on whether embattled David Parsons should be sacked as leader of Leicestershire County Council.
The Conservative was this week found to have broken the councillor code of conduct because he held on to money he should have repaid to the authority.
He has faced calls to resign from opposition councillors but received support from senior Tories.
However, he will face a motion of no confidence – in a secret ballot – when party colleagues meet next month.
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The motion was proposed by Byron Rhodes and Peter Osborne, who were sacked from the council cabinet by Coun Parsons last month.
The Mercury was unable to contact Coun Rhodes yesterday and Coun Osborne said he did not wish to comment at this stage.
However, a senior Tory said: "There is a feeling David's position is as weak as it has ever been and now might be the chance to dislodge him. The vultures are circling.
"The committee questioned his honesty, integrity, leadership and accountability and those are important issues to members."
A number of senior County Hall Tories, including deputy leader Nick Rushton, cabinet member Richard Blunt and group chairman David Jennings have publicly supported Coun Parsons.
Coun Jennings said: "The motion is there so it will have to be discussed and the group will decide."
Coun Parsons had faced allegations he held on to money paid to him for trips to Europe.
At one point he had more than £5,400 had built up in his bank account which should have been repaid. He has since paid it back.
After the standards hearing, Coun Parsons issued an unreserved apology and a statement saying he had paid all outstanding amounts.
But in a separate development yesterday, a report was published showing Coun Parsons still owed the council up to £1,874.40 for flights taken six years ago.
The trips were paid for in advance by East Midlands Councils (EMC), which Coun Parsons chairs, in April and October 2006.
He would then have been paid by the European Union so he could refund EMC, via the county council.
Council auditors said in a report to the corporate governance committee, which meets on Friday: "As of June 21, EMC has confirmed that it has records to prove it funded the flight costs for the member to attend the October 2006 meetings and that it is also highly likely it funded the April flight.
"Subject to EMC confirming that if funded the April 2006 flight, the total cost of the three flights (£1,875.40) will need to be refunded by the member."
Coun Parsons said yesterday that he was the person who queried the flights with EMC.
He said: "I identified them in March (2012) and wrote to EMC. In early April, they had no record of the costs of these flights being incurred so I thought there was no matter to resolve.
"I accept the findings of the auditors. It's news to me but I was the one who had tried to sort this out.
"I will of course pay back any amounts that I have to."
Coun Parsons said he thought his statement after the standards hearing had been correct at the time.
Liberal Democrat group deputy leader Dr Sarah Hill said: "The revelations over the money he still owes the council underlines the fact he should not be leader.
"I welcome the no confidence motion. Only the Tories can get rid of a man who is in an untenable situation."