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Tory turmoil – members vote to expel Wyre Forest Association chairman Stephen Clee
6:20pm Saturday 2nd March 2013 in News
MEMBERS of Wyre Forest Conservative Association voted to throw the district council chairman out of the party after hearing a catalogue of misconduct allegations including sending a constituent a bar of soap to “wash his mouth out”.
The bizarre incident was one of 12 allegations against Stephen Clee put before the executive council of the association and which led to a decision to expel him in September.
It is understood Mr Clee took a shortcut under the window of the constituent’s home while delivering leaflets in the Bewdley area, and was challenged by the owner.
Mr Clee, one of the longest serving district and county councillors in Wyre Forest and in his second year as council chairman, ignored him but posted the soap the next day.
Mr Clee provided a written response at the meeting.
He claimed the man used the F-word several times and stated: “I ignored this outburst but when I returned home posted a bar of soap to him thinking it might clean his mouth out.
“It was not done in a vindictive way.
“I accept with hindsight that this may not have been the most appropriate way to deal with the situation but I was so embarrassed and upset by the tirade of abuse.”
The executive council meeting was told that Mr Clee’s behaviour over a period of two to three years was serious enough to consider expulsion from the local party.
He had been given two serious disciplinary warnings and a final written warning.
The association has repeatedly refused to comment on the vote to sack Mr Clee but details have now come to light.
According to documents seen by the Worcester News’ sister paper The Kidderminster Shuttle, there was a majority vote to expel him for conduct described as “not fitting to that which is expected from a councillor and member of the association”.
After appealing against the ruling, Mr Clee attended a hearing in London in December when the national party refused to back the local executive’s decision.
He remains an association member and is expected to defend his county council seat under the Conservative banner in the May elections.
The list of allegations against Mr Clee in documents seen by the Shuttle included:
Undermining the party’s successful 2010 general election campaign to get Mark Garnier elected as MP for Wyre Forest.
Producing a newsletter for the 2012 district council election campaign, which was “incorrect in a number of issues”.
Behaving poorly towards another constituent who had asked for support over theKidderminster Library gallery issue.
As treasurer of the Bewdley branch, failing to provide annual accounts for 2010 and 2011 and not explaining why 16 stubs – six of which were subsequently found to have been made out to him – were missing from branch cheque books.
Sending an “abusive” e-mail to the association chairman.