Havant councillor and former mayor still in dark over party suspension

A LONG-STANDING Havant councillor and former mayor has spoken of his sadness at being 'wrongfully' suspended from the Tory Party during his last few months in politics.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 2:52 pm
Updated Sunday, 8th December 2019, 3:51 pm
Ken Smith pictured during a county election in 2009 at Havant Leisure Centre. PICTURE: ALLAN HUTCHINGS (092039-413)

‘True blue’ Councillor Ken Smith, who has sat on Havant Borough Council for 16 years, said he has still not heard anything from his party since being suspended in November.

Cllr Smith is one of 25 Conservative councillors under investigation after a dossier containing alleged Islamophobic social media posts was sent to the party.

At the time the 79-year-old, who represents Bedhampton, insisted the comment he had posted under a Daily Mail article about Sadiq Khan was made in reference to the London Mayor’s treatment of Donald Trump and not his religion.

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Now Cllr Smith is hoping the suspension doesn’t hamper his final months on the council, before his planned retirement in May.

‘I received confirmation that I was suspended but there’s been no follow-up,’ he said.

‘It’s a shame because this is my last Christmas as a councillor. I love serving my community.

‘I’ve had a hell of a lot of support. All the councillors including cabinet members have been in contact to say they are sorry about what has happened.

‘Residents have also shown their support and some have written to HQ and James Cleverly about how I’m a respected councillor.’

Cllr Smith has also personally written to his party HQ as well as chairman James Cleverly and PM Boris Johnson, with no success.

He said: ‘There’s a council meeting before Christmas but I will not go. I do not want to sit on the opposition benches because I am a true blue.

‘I am standing down in May because I’m turning 80 next year. It’s a sad way to end my time as a councillor.’

Councillor Michael Wilson, the leader of Havant Borough Council, declined to comment.