Suspended Tory Tony Kershaw may be replaced in the Leicestershire County Council elections in May
A senior Tory facing an assault allegation could be replaced as a candidate in the Leicestershire County Council elections in May.
Councillor Tony Kershaw has been suspended from County Hall's Tory group after being arrested on suspicion of assault earlier this month.
Now, party officials are to discuss whether they wish to keep him as their candidate for the election on May 2.
Coun Kershaw represents the Quorn and Barrow division – largely considered to be a safe Tory seat – which he held in 2009 with a 53 per cent share of the vote and a majority of 1,321.
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The 75-year-old former county council chairman and cabinet member for waste had been selected by the Loughborough Conservative Association as their candidate before his arrest on Tuesday, February 19.
Association chairman Trevor Ranson told the Leicester Mercury: "In simple terms, there are processes and procedures that need to be considered.
"We have to consider the council candidacy. There will be a discussion soon.
"At this stage, I can't say how it will turn out. At this moment in time he has not been deselected. Tony has not been charged and he strenuously denies the allegation.
"He was selected some time ago – about 12 months ago and long before this allegation."
When asked by the Mercury if the Tories would stick with a candidate facing an assault allegation, Mr Ranson said: "That is question we will have to answer and it is a major consideration. We do have a decision to make. We need to investigate this and take action.
"As a councillor, he has been excellent and done a great job for the area hence the reason he was reselected. This (the allegation) is a separate issue."
Mr Ranson said Coun Kershaw would be in involved in the discussions about his future as a county councillor.
County council election candidates need to be confirmed and registered by April 5, to be eligible to stand.
Should the Loughborough Conservatives deselect Coun Kershaw they will then have to choose a replacement.
The Mercury understands another sitting Tory county councillor is under consideration to replace Coun Kershaw if he is deselected. If he switched to stand in a new seat, the party would still have to find another candidate to fill the gap he leaves with the nomination deadline approaching.
A spokesman for the county council's Conservative group said: "The decision rests entirely with the Loughborough Conservative Association, though they may want to consult with party headquarters in London.
"Tony's suspension applies only to his membership of the Conservative group at County Hall and it is a suspension without prejudice."
The Mercury attempted to contact Coun Kershaw but he was unavailable for comment.
A police spokeswoman said he remained on police bail pending further inquiries.