Conservatives expel Rossendale councillor over over-claimed benefits

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David StansfieldImage source, Lancashire County Council
Image caption,
David Stansfield was expelled over "behaviour not befitting a Conservative councillor", the Tory Party said

A Conservative councillor who was suspended by the Tories over his council tax benefit claims has been expelled from the party.

David Stansfield, who represents Helmshore in Lancashire, was believed to have over-claimed at least £4,000.

A Conservative Party spokesman said his expulsion was due to "behaviour not befitting a Conservative councillor".

Mr Stansfield and his wife, Greenfield councillor Val Roberts, also face an investigation over Facebook postings.

Ms Roberts, who became Rossendale Borough Council's Conservative group leader earlier in 2017, and her husband are alleged to have shared "offensive" comments about Muslims and refugees on the social media website.

The Tory spokesman said Ms Roberts had made comments that were "completely unacceptable and she has been suspended from the party".

The couple have been reported to the council's monitoring officer by Labour councillor Patrick Marriott, who said they had breached the authority's code of conduct.

"Both councillors represent a diverse community and I feel these posts are not only extremely offensive, but seek to create divide in our community and undoubtedly bring the office they hold into disrepute," he said.

Following an investigation into Mr Stansfield's benefits claims, he was ordered to repay the money and fined £1,000 in September 2016.

Neither Mr Stansfield nor Ms Roberts have responded to requests for a comment.

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