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 and Cllr Richard Cox
Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd and Cllr Richard Cox

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

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5 Comments

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  1. I read this headline and thought Cllr Cox was referring to the pm.
    What are your views on him Cllr Cox?
    I think Cllr L-R should resign but also the council should be referred to the police because this lack of due diligence over public monies is serious.

  2. As the County Council are not forthcoming with what has happened to these monies, as rate payers we should withhold our rates until this information is forthcoming.

  3. So what did you spend the £924 on Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd?

    If it was never spent on trees but is not available to repay that sounds like misusing public money to me and fraud. Perhaps the police could get to the bottom of this?

    It is refreshing that finally one former Conservative colleague of Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd has broken this shameful conspiracy of silence that surrounds this story. It would be helpful to hear from the former county council who originally approved this grant too. Helen Fisher signed off on this grant and is now Deputy Police and Fire Commisioner for Staffordshire. So she would be well-placed to comment on whether this should be subject of a criminal investigation.

  4. I don’t understand why this hasn’t gone to the police. Cllr L-R is unfit for office and should resign.

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