'I won't be blackmailed into being a Tory', says Milton Keynes councillor

A veteran councillor has been thrown out of the local Conservative association after failing to pay his monthly membership fees.
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Andy Dransfield, 70, admits he has not coughed up his £30 a month for almost a year and a half.

But he says the move was a deliberate protest because he sees the charge as “a form of blackmail”.

Outspoken Mr Dransfield, who has represented Loughton and Shenley ward for 30 years, told the Citizen: “The MK Conservative Association insists every councillors pays this £30 a month - or else they can’t be a councillor.

Andy DransfieldAndy Dransfield
Andy Dransfield

“Yet anybody else wanting to join the association is charged £25 to £30 a year. It’s unfair that councillors should be expected to pay this extra tithe - it’s just a form of blackmail.”

Mr Dransfield, however, has no intention of quitting as a councillor - even though the move technically means he is an independent.

“I won’t let my voters down. But it’s great - I don’t have to go to Tory group meetings any more!” told the Citizen.

Local Tory group leader Councillor Alex Walker (pictured) said a recent audit traced Mr Dransfield’s non payments back to August 2017.

Tory leader Alex WalkerTory leader Alex Walker
Tory leader Alex Walker

He said:“It is essential in order to be a member of the Conservative Group to be a member of the party and pay the relevant subscriptions. It was recommended as Council group leader that I remove the whip from him. After following the proper procedure and discussion with Cllr. Dransfield, that decision was taken.”

* A by-election will be held next month after the sudden resignation of Bletchley East Labour councillor Alan Webb on Monday.

Mr Webb has been suffering ill health for some time and has been unable to attend many meetings since the beginning of this year.