Leicester

Leicestershire Conservatives nominate new leader

A senior Leicestershire County Councillor has been nominated as leader of the Conservative group, a week after the former leader resigned.

David Parsons stood down as leader of the Conservative-run county council as he is at the centre of an ongoing row about travel expenses.

Nick Rushton has been nominated as leader and as the sole candidate should be voted in next week.

Mr Rushton said the council would have a "more collegiate administration".

"I don't want to be considered leader as in the old sense of the leader," said Mr Rushton.

"I want to be considered a first among equals and will abolish the leader's office and reintroduce the cabinet office - we will be cabinet-run."

Independent report

Mr Rushton said he had "technically only been nominated" and hoped to be elected as Conservative leader next week, followed by a formal vote as council leader in September.

He said he would be considering which future role would best suit Mr Parsons.

"David Parsons will have to go to the back benches for now. I want him to help with the election manifesto over the summer and then I think he could have a job in some sort of regulatory field."

Mr Parsons was facing a vote of no confidence from his own Conservative group and decided to step down on 3 July after nine years in the post.

In June the council's standards committee censured Mr Parsons over an independent report which found he had delayed repaying money to the East Midlands Councils (EMC).

It had initially paid for official trips to the continent, but the EU then paid Mr Parsons directly.

Last week the county council referred the issue to Leicestershire Police.

In addition to this, a body called the Corporate Governance Committee is to consider claims that Mr Parsons used the council's chauffeur-driven car to attend private functions.

In a previously released statement Mr Parsons said he remained "determined to maintain my good character".

"To that end - I have contacted the chief constable, and indicated my willingness to co-operate," he said.

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