Bingham councillor joins Independent Alliance at Nottinghamshire County Council after being expelled from Conservatives
A councillor expelled by the Conservative Party after being found to have breached a member code of conduct has joined a new Independent Alliance on Nottinghamshire County Council.
Francis Purdue-Horan was suspended by the Tories this year after he and another Conservative councillor, John Stockwood, were found to have harassed the clerk at Bingham Town Council.
An investigation by Rushcliffe Borough Council’s standards committee found the councillors had breached the authority’s code of conduct, and both were later expelled by the Conservatives.
Both councillors continue to deny the allegations.
It comes as Bingham Town Council, where Cllr Purdue-Horan is deputy mayor, approved plans to allow a Rushcliffe improvement board to oversee and manage its operations after the authority “just about hit rock bottom”.
Alongside his deputy mayor role, Mr Purdue-Horan also represents Bingham on Nottinghamshire County Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council.
He has confirmed he is joining the new alliance in County Hall, led by Ashfield District Council leader Jason Zadrozny.
The group will be a renamed version of the existing Independent Group, made up of the ten Ashfield Independents councillors, independent Elizabeth Williams in Greasley and Brinsley, Mr Purdue-Horan and Broxtowe Lib Dem Steve Carr.
It gives the group 13 members on the council, two shy of the opposition Labour group, which has 15.
There are a further 36 Conservatives and two independents in the chamber.
Mr Purdue-Horan said he believed the handling of the Bingham Town Council allegations have been unfair.
He said he would be fighting against over-development on housing, banging the drum for a recycling centre in Cotgrave and campaigning for improved parks, better rural transport and for roads to be repaired and made safer.
He said: “I will do all this as an independent councillor on Bingham Town Council, Rushcliffe Borough Council and as a member of the Independent Alliance on Nottinghamshire County Council.
“I have and will continue to have many, many friends in the Conservative Party.
“I have no axe to grind about most of their members. Mine is not a political fight, apart from clearing my name. My main priorities are for the people of Bingham and our beautiful surrounding villages.”
Mr Zadrozny, leader of the new group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Councillor Purdue-Horan into our growing group at County Hall.
“He will be a loss to the Conservative Group as Francis has a strong track record of putting his residents in Bingham first going back decades.
“Whether it be fighting for our green spaces, arguing for the promised recycling centre near Cotgrave or campaigning for the local residents he holds so dear, he will join our constructive opposition to the administration at Nottinghamshire County Council.”
Mr Carr, who represents Bramcote and Beeston North, will continue to represent the Liberal Democrats but will work with the Independent Alliance in County Hall.