Worthing councillor suspended by Conservative Party and group pending investigation
A Worthing councillor accused of sending messages to a group ‘which does not share the aims and ideals of the Conservative Party’ has been suspended by his party and Worthing Borough Council’s Tory group pending an investigation.
Tim Wills (Marine) allegedly posted messages in a private Telegram group chat affiliated with Patriotic Alternative (PA), according to an article published by anti-racism and anti-fascism campaign group Hope not Hate.
PA is described on Wikipedia as a British far-right white nationalist group.
Council leader Dan Humphreys confirmed that Mr Wills’ membership of both the Conservative Party and Worthing Borough Council’s Conservative group has been ‘suspended pending an investigation’.
In a statement, Mr Humphreys said: “Following allegations made against councillor Tim WiIls and alleged involvement with a group that does not share the aims and ideals of the Conservative Party, councillor Tim Wills’ membership of the Conservative Party and the Worthing Borough Conservative group has been suspended pending an investigation by the party’s complaints board.
“Worthing Conservatives remain committed to promoting equality between all people and opposing all forms of racism.”
Mr Wills has been contacted for comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service via email twice, by phone, in a voicemail and via WhatsApp but no response has yet been received.
Martin McCabe (LDem, Tarring) had asked Mr Humphreys to investigate as a matter of urgency and take ‘swift and decisive action’.
He said he hoped that a ‘huge and terrible error’ had been made in the article, rather than its allegations being true.
The council’s Labour group accused Patriotic Alternative of ‘seeking the removal of ethnic minorities from the UK’.
In a statement, Labour group leader Rebecca Cooper (Marine) called for Mr Wills’ immediate resignation as a councillor.
Dr Cooper said: “As an elected representative, he holds the privilege and responsibility of working with everyone in Marine ward and across Worthing borough.”
One Conservative Party member from Sussex said: “He should be suspended, investigated and if found to have done this, expelled – no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’.
“It’s hard enough being a Tory at times, and all people will do is use this as a stick to beat us all.”
A spokesperson from Worthing Borough Council said: “Worthing Borough Council has instigated an investigation into a councillor following a complaint made under its code of conduct.
“The council’s monitoring officer has been made aware of the statements made by councillor Tim Wills and is considering the matter under the code of conduct in accordance with the council’s adopted procedure.
“There will be no further comment while the process is ongoing.”