A councillor at the centre of a controversy over funding for a tree planting project has been suspended by his own party at Burntwood Town Council – but he says he had already decided to leave the group.
Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd had previously been handed a six month ban by the Conservatives at Staffordshire County Council amid concerns over money he received.
Burntwood Town Council’s Conservative group had previously said that whether he remained a member of their group would be his own decision.
But a spokesman said the position has now changed.
“The Conservative group at Burntwood Town Council has decided to suspend Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd from its group.
“Although there are no parish group rules to follow, they have decided that for the period of the county council group suspension, he will not be considered to be part of the Conservative group at Burntwood Town Council.”Burntwood Town Council Conservative group spokesperson
But Cllr Lougbrough-Rudd told Lichfield Live he had already opted to become an independent member of the town council.
“For now, I’ve decided to remove myself from the Conservative group at Burntwood Town Council.”Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd
“Ordered to repay the monies in full”
The Burntwood North representative is currently the subject of a review by the monitoring officer at Staffordshire County Council over £924 he received from the Climate Change Fund.
The money had been earmarked for a planting scheme at Chasewater, but it later emerged that no trees had been planted or even purchased.
A spokesperson for the Conservatives at Staffordshire County Council said the review could lead to the matter being referred to the police.
“Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd has been ordered to repay the Climate Change monies back to the county council in full.
“The county council’s monitoring officer will review the circumstances of the case, and – if necessary – refer the matter to the police for their consideration.”Staffordshire County Council Conservative group spokesperson