A councillor who quit the Conservatives in the wake of controversy over funding for a tree planting scheme has “no integrity or principles whatsoever”, one of his former colleagues has said.
Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd’s decision to leave the Tories permanently came after he was initially suspended for six months by the controlling group at Staffordshire County Council last month.
An investigation found he had been awarded £924 by the authority’s climate change fund in the lead up to his election in the Burntwood North division, where he now sits as an independent member.
Despite receiving the money via the now dissolved Nature Nuturing Community Interest Company of which he was the sole director, a county council review found no trees had been planted or even purchased.
Both Staffordshire County Council and Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd have remained tight-lipped about the current whereabouts of the funding, with the authority only confirming that arrangements had been made for it to be returned.
But Cllr Richard Cox, Conservative representative for Lichfield Rural West, has now revealed he told his former colleague to pay back the money several months ago – and questioned why he did not do so.
“I’m unaware of the whereabouts of the £924, however I can confirm I did suggest to him that it was repaid immediately once it became apparent there were no trees.
“Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd has no integrity or principles whatsoever in terms of knowing or doing right from wrong.
“I came to this conclusion from the moment he failed to repay the grants when I suggested he should some months ago.”Cllr Richard Cox, Staffordshire County Council
Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd – who had previously admitted he was “deeply embarrassed” by the situation – has so far refused to comment on whether or not he has paid the funding back.
But he did tell Lichfield Live:
“Cllr Cox is entitled to his view as much as anyone else.”Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd, Staffordshire County Council