A Burntwood councillor who said he would resign in the wake of controversy over funding now says he intends to remain in the role.
Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd had sent an email to the chairman of Staffordshire County Council last month outlining his intention to stand down.
It came after it emerged money his now dissolved community interest company was awarded by the authority’s own climate change fund was not used for a tree planting project as it should have been
But despite being awarded £580 last March while he was standing as a Conservative candidate for the Burntwood North seat and a further £344 just days after his election in May, the money has only been repaid in full this month – with the councillor refusing to explain why it could not be paid back sooner.
Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd told Lichfield Live:
“I was talked out of quitting by someone close to me – my constituents will be able to get hold of me on new details from tomorrow.”Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd, Staffordshire County Council
Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd did not confirm who had been behind his decision to continue as an independent councillor having left the Conservatives.
He had previously stepped down from both Burntwood Town Council and Hammerwich Parish Council, but had clung on to his remunerated county council seat.
“I have been regularly meeting with people”
Despite continuing to collect his £800-plus monthly allowance, Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd had failed to attend any of the last four meetings he had been due to be at stretching back to December.
But he told Lichfield Live he had continued to be an effective representative for local residents over the last few months.
“I have been regularly meeting with people on an individual basis and assisting various causes during this timeframe.
“I had always intended to leave Burntwood Town Council after being elected to Staffordshire County Council because of the very political nature of Burntwood Town Council.
“I will not stand again.”Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd, Staffordshire County Council
However, Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd’s latest comments are at odds with those he made in January when he said he had resigned from the town council to avoid being “a distraction” as news of the tree-funding broke:
“I offer my sincere apology for anything that I have done that it is felt has stained this council – that would not be something I would ever do and that is why I go now.
“It has been a profound honour to serve alongside this council under the administration which I have to say I didn’t expect.”Cllr Thomas Loughbrough-Rudd’s January 2022 resignation letter to Burntwood Town Council
Cllr Loughbrough-Rudd’s decision not to resign from the county council will see him share the chamber with former Conservative colleagues who originally handed him the maximum possible ban from their group following an investigation into the funding.
They include Cllr Richard Cox who said the Burntwood North member had “no principles or integrity whatsoever”.
“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