Pressure is believed to be on council leader to expel Councillor Robert Morritt
Pressure has ramped up on the leader of the council to expel a member of his party following an expenses scandal.
An investigation was launched last year into the expenses of Councillor Robert Morritt while he was working as an agent for the Wandsworth Conservative Group (WCG).
The East Putney ward councillor was accused of claiming more than £60,000 worth of expenses, including more than £30,000 spent in cheques, £25,000 on a taxi account, £5,000 on stamps and other unexplained items.
But Coun Morritt has continued to serve as a councillor and sit on committees, provoking several frustrated councillors to call for his departure.
A source within the Wandsworth Conservative Party told the Wandsworth Guardian a meeting took place on October 10 with a vote scheduled on Coun Morritt’s position.
The vote never took place, with no explanation given which led to a group of 11 councillors formally complaining to council leader Councillor Ravi Govindia.
It is believed the councillors calling for him to quit include Councillor Peter Dawson, Councillor Stuart Thom, Councillor Claire Clay and Councillor Steffi Sutters.
The group also allegedly involves Councillor Vanessa Graham, Councillor Maurice Heaster and Councillor John Locker.
None of the councillors named responded to attempts by the newspaper to speak to them.
Coun Govindia also refused to comment on any of the allegations. Another vote is expected to take place at the next Conservative party meeting on October 31.
If a two-thirds majority of councillors vote for his departure Coun Morritt could become an independent candidate.
Coun Morritt said: “I am firmly committed to working hard to represent the residents of East Putney and will continue to do so.”
The report, leaked to the Wandsworth Guardian last year, listed “excessive business and personal use of an Addison Lee taxi account on an undisclosed basis” as a major area of concern.
It said Coun Morritt admitted the account racked up £26,000 worth of journeys, that this was not disclosed to the organisation's general management committee, and that this included more than £5,000 of exclusively personal journeys by him – money that he has subsequently repaid.
The accusations regard his time working as a political agent, rather than as a councillor.
The report was first published by the political website order-order.com.
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