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.
Councillor Francis Purdue-Horan (Ind) was suspended by the Tories this year after he and another Conservative councillor, John Stockwood, were alleged to have “harassed and bullied” 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, Cllr Purdue-Horan also represents Bingham on Nottinghamshire County Council and Rushcliffe Borough Council.
Now the councillor has confirmed he is joining the new ‘Alliance’ in County Hall, led by Ashfield District Council leader Cllr Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind).
The group will be a renamed version of the existing Independent Group, made up of the 10 Ashfield Independents councillors, independent Cllr Elizabeth Williams in Greasley and Brinsley, Cllr Purdue-Horan and Broxtowe Lib Dem Cllr 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.
Cllr Purdue-Horan said he believes the handling of the Bingham Town Council allegations have been “unfair” and again denied them.
He adds he will 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.”
Cllr Jason Zadrozny, leader of the new group, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “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.”
Cllr Steve Carr (Lib Dem), who represents Bramcote and Beeston North, will continue to represent the Liberal Democrats but will work with the Independent Alliance in County Hall.