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Councillor Simon King is out in the cold after being suspended by Fenland's ruling Conservative group

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Wisbech Councillor Simon King has been suspended from Fenland's ruling Conservative group.

Councillor Simon King (right) answers questions from his barrister Mike Magee during the recent conduct committee hearing.
Councillor Simon King (right) answers questions from his barrister Mike Magee during the recent conduct committee hearing.

The announcement follows a group meeting last night (Thursday) where sanctions against the Octavia ward councillor were discussed after he was found guilty of breaching Fenland Council's Code of Conduct.

A day-long hearing on October 31 determined Coun King brought both himself as a councillor and the council into disrepute by making inflated mileage claims over a number of years.

As a consequence of the conduct committee's findings it was agreed an official letter of reprimand be sent by the council.

Now his Conservative colleagues have taken further action and agreed a six month suspension from all group activities - which will run until May 7 2019 - five days after the local council elections on May 2.

In a statement issued this morning the group's secretary and whip Councillor Mike Cornwell said: "Whilst deciding not to expel the councillor, the most serious option open to them, members overwhelmingly decided to suspend him until May 7 2019, the maximum suspension period allowable."

Coun Cornwell said the fact the suspension runs up to next year's elections was coincidental not intentional and explained it means Coun King has been cast aside and will not be involved in the day to day running of the group or attend group meetings. However, he will still be bound by party rules.

The last time the group suspended one of its own for six months was Coun Kit Owen in 2013 for inappropriate use of his council computer.

Councillor Chris Seaton, group chairman and council leader said: “The options open to the Group were limited. Expulsion is generally reserved for serious criminal matters and the maximum suspension period of six months was deemed to be the most appropriate way of dealing with the issue of Coun King. I would stress that this action is by the Conservative group on the council and not by the Conservative Party. That is a matter for the association (North East Cambridgeshire Conservative Association."

However, association chairman Councillor Jan French confirmed they would not be looking to take action as Coun King broke the council's Code of Conduct and therefore it was a Fenland issue.

She added that action by the association would be like punishing him twice for the same matter.

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