Porn row costs Sprason his job as deputy leader
The deputy leader of Leicestershire County Council has been dismissed from his post for speaking to the Leicester Mercury about a pornographic DVD found in his council computer.
Yesterday, County Hall's Tory Group announced Councillor David Sprason would not resume his roles as deputy leader and cabinet member for adults and communities.
He had voluntarily stepped down from the positions in November, pending an investigation by Tory whips, following the leaking of a letter sent to him by the county council's legal officer after the hardcore film was found in the disc drive of his PC by an IT worker.
Earlier in the week, Coun Sprason's Conservative colleagues spent an hour-and-a-half behind closed doors discussing recommendations that he be removed from his senior posts and suspended from the party for two months.
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However, after he argued his case before them, the party said it would stop short of suspension as he had apologised.
He remains a Tory back bencher but his allowances have been cut by more than £20,000-a-year as a result of his removal from executive roles.
The investigation resulted from an interview Coun Sprason gave to the Mercury insisting he was not embarrassed about the DVD which, in turn, led to widespread national media coverage.
Yesterday in a statement, the Conservative group said: "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 of both the county council and the Conservative Group."
Tory group leader Councillor Nick Rushton had recommended his members vote for suspension, but he told the Mercury their position softened after Coun Sprason made his case.
He said: "David made an excellent case and I think people realised he has suffered a lot already.
"He has effectively already served an seven-week suspension and was clearly sorry. He is still an excellent councillor and I do feel sorry for him.
"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."
Coun Sprason told the Mercury he did not want to comment on the sanctions.
Councillor Byron Rhodes was elected unopposed as the new deputy leader of the Conservative group and the council and David Houseman has been appointed in Coun Sprason's former cabinet role.