Wisbech Councillor Simon King steps down from local election to save his Conservative party colleagues 'difficulties'
Wisbech councillor Simon King will not stand at this year's local elections in May to save his party "further embarrassment".
Speaking exclusively to the Citizen Coun King, who has represented the Octavia Hill Ward on Fenland District Council for the past 20 years, said it was entirely his decision to withdraw.
Coun King is currently serving a six month suspension from the Fenland Conservative group after he was found guilty of breaching the code of conduct with fraudulent expense claims - an accusation he still vehemently denies.
The suspension, which bars him from attending all group activities, runs until May 7 - five days after the local elections.
He said: "The reason I took the decision to stand down was because of loyalty to the Conservative party, and it was entirely my decision. The fact is this will still be going on close to the elections in May. I just wasn't going to do that to the party. I feel a lot of loyalty to the Conservative party, and although I maintain I am completely innocent, I don't want to cause my colleagues any difficulties or further embarrassment in the run up to the elections.
"I felt the honourable thing to do for my party was to withdraw.
"Obviously I am sad. I feel I have made a positive contribution in the past 20 years I have served the district. The thing that has been most important to me is serving my constituents, I really believe I have done my best. Whenever people have contacted me for help I have always tried to help them.
"I have achieved many things and one of those I'm most pleased about is getting improvements in Wisbech, including improving the Tillery Field park, which was in an appalling state. I set up a 'friends of group' and since then we have introduced improved lighting and CCTV.
"I played a big part in getting the Heritage Lottery funding for the derelict buildings in High Street. I led on that and it was difficult to get Fenland on board initially, but all credit to the Wisbech Society who really pushed and between us we got Fenland on board and the bid was successful."
Coun King, who will continue to serve as a county councillor, is also delighted with the progress made on re-opening the Wisbech rail link.
"Re-opening the railway line has been something I have fought for since I was first elected. In those days I used to get laughed at for talking about it, but it is now something I believe will happen," he said
Coun King is unsure whether he will seek re-election to the district council in 2023.
"Four years is a long time, so we will have to see. I just hope I am remembered for the achievements I made rather than the expenses thing - which I have repeatedly said I have done nothing wrong - but time will tell," he concluded