Town councillor suspended by Tories

PUBLISHED: 13:28 22 June 2006 | UPDATED: 14:44 12 May 2010

Cllr Rod Kennedy

Cllr Rod Kennedy

CONSERVATIVE councillors in Royston have suspended one of their own members. Councillor Rod Kennedy was invited to a behind-closed-doors meeting on Monday evening to discuss his refusal to sign up to the rules for Conservative council groups. He had ref

CONSERVATIVE councillors in Royston have suspended one of their own members.

Councillor Rod Kennedy was "invited" to a behind-closed-doors meeting on Monday evening to discuss his refusal to sign up to the rules for Conservative council groups.

He had refused to sign up to the rules because he believed it would restrict free speech in his role as a Conservative councillor on Royston Town Council.

But after the meeting, Cllr Philip Mayne, leader of the town council, said that this was an "erroneous belief" on the part of Cllr Kennedy.

Cllr Mayne said: "There is no attempt in the rules to do this.

"As the rules put it, no-one is bound by the group decision on matters of conscience and matters specific to their ward.

"I believe this is general enough to allow free speech."

Cllr Kennedy said he believed he had been "ambushed" into attending the meeting, which he thought was only for Tory councillors on the town council.

He said it turned out that there were other Conservative party members there.

Cllr Kennedy has always been seen as a councillor who, at times, has controversial views which may not be in line with his party.

"I've always understood that I have the right to express views freely," he said.

"The rules being talked about here do not cover, as I believe, town councillors."

He said he was annoyed that he had been removed as a member of the town council's finance committee which he had served for the past eight years.

But he was on holiday in New Zealand when the committees were structured after last month's town council elections.

He said, however: "I will not be dictated to on speaking or voting. I will represent the people of Heath ward and will continue to do so."

Cllr Kennedy continued that taking action against him was "a step backward" as Tory leader David Cameron was attempting to move the party forward.

The outcome of this week's episode will be decided when the Royston Conservative Association meets to discuss the issue.

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