Deputy leader of York Conservatives is suspended – and brands his party ‘toxic’

Cllr Tony Richardson

The deputy leader of the Conservatives at City of York Council has been suspended from the group.

Cllr Tony Richardson has now been relieved of his role as deputy and whip, according to group leader Cllr Ian Gillies.

The council is currently investigating allegations about Cllr Richardson’s behaviour towards officers, Cllr Gillies said.

But Cllr Richardson says he is being “targeted” and that allegations made against him are not true.

‘Crazy’ situation

West Offices – HQ of City of York Council. Photograph: YorkMix
At a full council meeting on March 21 he sat with independent councillors.

Speaking after the meeting he said:

  • I’m not part of the group so I can’t sit with the group.

    It’s crazy when they are asking for people to be [Conservative] councillors.

    I’m being targeted by the group for standing up for myself. As deputy leader I try as much as possible to maintain the group’s integrity.

    I have had a number of allegations made against me which aren’t true. The group has just become so toxic.

    It’s just got really uncomfortable.

Outgoing City of York Council leader Ian Gillies said “in addition to his alleged behaviour towards officers, he has been suspended from the group and relieved of his position as deputy leader and whip”.

New deputy

New Tory group deputy, Cllr Rawlings
Cllr Stuart Rawlings has now been appointed as deputy leader of the Conservative group.

Cllr Richardson, who has been a councillor for Haxby and Wigginton for eight years, says he will now stand as an independent in the local elections on May 2.

And he added that he has health problems that have been affected by the row, saying:

  • I have stayed loyal. They are forcing me into it, people have the right to know because they have the right to decide.

    As a councillor you are there to represent your residents and try to resolve any issues they have and get them the best services you can.

    I enjoy that side of it. Residents expect someone to fight on their behalf. That’s my whole reason for being there.

Cllr Richardson says he has contacted a solicitor to “fight back against the allegations and suspension”.

The York Conservative Association declined to comment because it did not want to prejudice inquiries into allegations against Cllr Richardson.

City of York Council declined to comment.

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