Worcestershire Conservatives suspend councillor after fire service row

Councillor Phil Grove: suspended from the Conservative group

Councillor Phil Grove: suspended from the Conservative group

First published in News Worcester News: Tom Edwards Exclusive by , Political Reporter

A LEADING Worcestershire politician has been suspended from his Conservative group - and today he could be expelled entirely.

Your Worcester News can reveal how Councillor Phil Grove has landed in serious trouble with his party after trying to prevent massive fire service cuts.

Last week Cllr Grove decided to break ranks from the Tory group at Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority and back the opposition Labour Party to inject an extra £500,000 into the service.

His decision led to a crunch budget amendment being passed by 11 votes to 10, to delay a decision to make £4 million of fire service cuts until June using the cash.

Last Wednesday, if the cuts were passed Worcester would have lost one of two full-time fire engines.

Sources close to the row say Cllr Grove was told before the meeting that he must back the cuts, and was warned to avoid breaking ranks by his party.

After his decision he was stopped from re-entering the Conservative room at Worcestershire County Council, where the meeting took place, and immediately suspended.

The group is meeting today and will consider expelling him.

One source said: "After the meeting ended he tried to get back into the room and he was told not to enter, he was kicked out right there.

"He told them (the Conservatives) of his intentions before the meeting and they said ' in you vote in that way, you won't be coming back'.

"He's been seen walking around County Hall looking lost."

Cllr Grove, who was first elected to County Hall last year, is also a member of Malvern Hills District Council, where he used to be the leader between 2009-2012.

One of the county's most experienced politicians, he is currently Malvern's economic development chief.

He said: "I'm dealing with this through the party and at this time I've got no comment to make."

If he is kicked out of Worcestershire County Council's Conservative group permanently, it means he will immediately become affiliated to no party at County Hall.

It is not expected to impact on his position in Malvern.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, the leader of the Conservatives at the county council, refused to comment yesterday.

But Councillor Richard Udall, from the Labour Party, said: "I'd like to thank Cllr Grove for his brave actions and conduct."

Comments (23)

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7:11am Fri 28 Feb 14

green49 says...

Well done Hardman yet another guy to be chucked because he didnt tow your Tory party line,, its about time YOU were out as your not fit for purpose.
Well done Hardman yet another guy to be chucked because he didnt tow your Tory party line,, its about time YOU were out as your not fit for purpose. green49
  • Score: 37

7:34am Fri 28 Feb 14

truth must out says...

Total respect....principle
s before party. Well done that man.
Total respect....principle s before party. Well done that man. truth must out
  • Score: 43

8:58am Fri 28 Feb 14

Pomygranit says...

All politicians/councill
ors are elected under The Representation of the People Act / Regulations.
Obviously the pompous Tories in this case view the people as being irrelevant.

Pleasant change to see someone is prepared to represent those who elected him.

Respect.
All politicians/councill ors are elected under The Representation of the People Act / Regulations. Obviously the pompous Tories in this case view the people as being irrelevant. Pleasant change to see someone is prepared to represent those who elected him. Respect. Pomygranit
  • Score: 41

10:01am Fri 28 Feb 14

Arthur Blenkinsop says...

Well done to him. Fired for not toeing the party line on a matter of importance - outrageous. If all they want is sheep, then why have councillors with morals and principles?
Well done to him. Fired for not toeing the party line on a matter of importance - outrageous. If all they want is sheep, then why have councillors with morals and principles? Arthur Blenkinsop
  • Score: 41

10:42am Fri 28 Feb 14

MJI says...

I would rather they voted by the conscience rather than party rules. Well done.

We need more people like him, not less.
I would rather they voted by the conscience rather than party rules. Well done. We need more people like him, not less. MJI
  • Score: 29

11:51am Fri 28 Feb 14

pudniw_gib says...

I have seen the Tory councillors caving in instantly they are told what to do by senior council members, often against common sense or what might seem morally right. Guess it happens in all parties but it is still very unpleasant to see.
Well done Mr Grove for going with your conscience. Respect.
I have seen the Tory councillors caving in instantly they are told what to do by senior council members, often against common sense or what might seem morally right. Guess it happens in all parties but it is still very unpleasant to see. Well done Mr Grove for going with your conscience. Respect. pudniw_gib
  • Score: 29

12:26pm Fri 28 Feb 14

brooksider says...

I would love Local Councillors to be independent and not affiliated to any national political party.
Only then would Councillors truly represent residents and local democracy be a reality.
I would love Local Councillors to be independent and not affiliated to any national political party. Only then would Councillors truly represent residents and local democracy be a reality. brooksider
  • Score: 24

12:59pm Fri 28 Feb 14

keep it real says...

I think local politics should be local and not political in anyway. In my mind Councillors are firstly there to serve their constituents, if this means not towing the party line then so be it - people will have a lot more respect for people who use their brain and conscience. - well done Mr Grove I'm sure it took some balls to stand up to your party but you did it for what you believe are the right reasons and you should be congratulated .
I think local politics should be local and not political in anyway. In my mind Councillors are firstly there to serve their constituents, if this means not towing the party line then so be it - people will have a lot more respect for people who use their brain and conscience. - well done Mr Grove I'm sure it took some balls to stand up to your party but you did it for what you believe are the right reasons and you should be congratulated . keep it real
  • Score: 16

1:30pm Fri 28 Feb 14

lilboo says...

Hardman is a pompous, arrogant bully boy, when is someone going to do something about craning him out of his elevated seat?!!!
Hardman is a pompous, arrogant bully boy, when is someone going to do something about craning him out of his elevated seat?!!! lilboo
  • Score: 18

4:38pm Fri 28 Feb 14

Greeco says...

I fully agree with keep it real above councillors should remember they are elected to represent people not political parties
I fully agree with keep it real above councillors should remember they are elected to represent people not political parties Greeco
  • Score: 18

7:27pm Fri 28 Feb 14

reflector says...

Well done, Phil. There are far too many councillors who just act like sheep and toe the party line instead of doing what they think is right at both national and local level. Someone like Councillor Grove would get my vote every time.
Well done, Phil. There are far too many councillors who just act like sheep and toe the party line instead of doing what they think is right at both national and local level. Someone like Councillor Grove would get my vote every time. reflector
  • Score: 23

10:28am Sat 1 Mar 14

Miss Capitol says...

Well done to him for standing up against the Bully boy mentality of Hardiman and Prodger . The meeting of the fire authority on 19 Feb 2014 was a joke and quite clear that if its a choice between protecting the frontline wholetime service or voting for the cheaper Part Time Services of the Butcher, Baker, or the Candlestick maker then that's what the Tories will do..... they gave big speeches about how well the service did in the recent Floods and now the true colours show if you do not agree with them your out and in comes someone to do what Progder and Hardiman want... How is it that a service that was flushed with monies 7 years ago is now in a deep deep mess ... maybe its because this Tory lead Authority has employed Two CFOs at the same time ..stumped up 1.2 million to correct the problem of the CFO Hayden Retirement darkle. Allowing the Treasurer to take early retirement over the matter. Costing £720K, a fire appliance bought in 2009 that never entered service never been to a fire call and is now quietly being sold off on the cheap.... Serious Sexual misconduct took place at a senior level which cost undisclosed sums of monies....and more ....And yet no one is held responsible... but now the service will be cut to the bone and carved up to make way for the Tories dream world that is the private sector in belif that they will come good... Remember G4S Olympics..

Good on you Phil for standing up and standing firm.... The Fire Authority should never be run by a complete bunch of uninterested buffoons that see it as way of playing party politics and if you ask any of them a fire service question they look at you with a expressionless face as if you are talking in a foreign language... It should instead be made up from stakeholders those who interest lies in its success.
Well done to him for standing up against the Bully boy mentality of Hardiman and Prodger . The meeting of the fire authority on 19 Feb 2014 was a joke and quite clear that if its a choice between protecting the frontline wholetime service or voting for the cheaper Part Time Services of the Butcher, Baker, or the Candlestick maker then that's what the Tories will do..... they gave big speeches about how well the service did in the recent Floods and now the true colours show if you do not agree with them your out and in comes someone to do what Progder and Hardiman want... How is it that a service that was flushed with monies 7 years ago is now in a deep deep mess ... maybe its because this Tory lead Authority has employed Two CFOs at the same time ..stumped up 1.2 million to correct the problem of the CFO Hayden Retirement darkle. Allowing the Treasurer to take early retirement over the matter. Costing £720K, a fire appliance bought in 2009 that never entered service never been to a fire call and is now quietly being sold off on the cheap.... Serious Sexual misconduct took place at a senior level which cost undisclosed sums of monies....and more ....And yet no one is held responsible... but now the service will be cut to the bone and carved up to make way for the Tories dream world that is the private sector in belif that they will come good... Remember G4S Olympics.. Good on you Phil for standing up and standing firm.... The Fire Authority should never be run by a complete bunch of uninterested buffoons that see it as way of playing party politics and if you ask any of them a fire service question they look at you with a expressionless face as if you are talking in a foreign language... It should instead be made up from stakeholders those who interest lies in its success. Miss Capitol
  • Score: 26

12:57pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Andy_R says...

Well done that man!
Well done that man! Andy_R
  • Score: 18

6:01pm Sat 1 Mar 14

i-cycle says...

This is what we need more of. A conviction politician rather than a careerist.
This is what we need more of. A conviction politician rather than a careerist. i-cycle
  • Score: 16

6:27pm Sat 1 Mar 14

SgtAl says...

So Cllr Grove faces being kicked out for representing the best interests of his constituents? How is a political party instructing it's councillors as to which way to vote even remotely democratic? I'm sure it's the exact opposite actually.

I think it's time to suggest early elections for new councillors in Worcester; if he would stand, Cllr Grove gets my vote regardless of future political leanings.
So Cllr Grove faces being kicked out for representing the best interests of his constituents? How is a political party instructing it's councillors as to which way to vote even remotely democratic? I'm sure it's the exact opposite actually. I think it's time to suggest early elections for new councillors in Worcester; if he would stand, Cllr Grove gets my vote regardless of future political leanings. SgtAl
  • Score: 13

6:36pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Keith B says...

I hope the Tory fat controller is reading this - but of course he won't because he really doesn't listen. The problem is that the Party's have yet recognised that the voters are veering towards issues rather that voting by tradition. Not enough yet to get rid of the Party system - which they the main Party's will fight like ferrets in a sack to maintain - but it will come.

BUT ... come the election will the voters in Hallow Ward remember that Phil Grove is a man of principle and re-elect him as an independent or will they simply carry on with the sheep-like voting for a Party.

For years I've voted for the man or woman rather than the Party which means recently I've voted from left (Police Commissioner elections where the Labour Candidate was by far the best person) to right with (Conservative and UKIP - if UKIP really is right wing, I'm never really sure!) - it just depends on the candidate.

And yet with the Euro election coming up I ONLY have the choice of voting for a Party under a misconception of a proportional representation system.

So - next time around the people of the naturally Conservative HALLOW WARD (which incidentally was my old Ward many moons ago when I was a very very independent District Councillor) turn out and vote for Phil Grove. If you want to run as an independent, I'll certainly campaign for you.

Incidentally - though I was in a Party I wasn't a Conservative, which I think was pretty unique for Hallow. I think it's a bit like the old 10CC song and only THE DEAN AND I have ever been non-Tory Councillors from Hallow! We are joined by PHIL - well done man - it's great to be Independent.
I hope the Tory fat controller is reading this - but of course he won't because he really doesn't listen. The problem is that the Party's have yet recognised that the voters are veering towards issues rather that voting by tradition. Not enough yet to get rid of the Party system - which they the main Party's will fight like ferrets in a sack to maintain - but it will come. BUT ... come the election will the voters in Hallow Ward remember that Phil Grove is a man of principle and re-elect him as an independent or will they simply carry on with the sheep-like voting for a Party. For years I've voted for the man or woman rather than the Party which means recently I've voted from left (Police Commissioner elections where the Labour Candidate was by far the best person) to right with (Conservative and UKIP - if UKIP really is right wing, I'm never really sure!) - it just depends on the candidate. And yet with the Euro election coming up I ONLY have the choice of voting for a Party under a misconception of a proportional representation system. So - next time around the people of the naturally Conservative HALLOW WARD (which incidentally was my old Ward many moons ago when I was a very very independent District Councillor) turn out and vote for Phil Grove. If you want to run as an independent, I'll certainly campaign for you. Incidentally - though I was in a Party I wasn't a Conservative, which I think was pretty unique for Hallow. I think it's a bit like the old 10CC song and only THE DEAN AND I have ever been non-Tory Councillors from Hallow! We are joined by PHIL - well done man - it's great to be Independent. Keith B
  • Score: 9

11:29am Sun 2 Mar 14

mark.lawley says...

good to read a politician standing for the electorate and not being a party sheep! politicians are public servants to the electorate but so many are just party pawns!
good to read a politician standing for the electorate and not being a party sheep! politicians are public servants to the electorate but so many are just party pawns! mark.lawley
  • Score: 9

12:24pm Sun 2 Mar 14

kidderlord says...

Whilst I fully endorse the actions of this man, it is a sad fact of reality that his political life is now dead in the water, especially as an ex Tory. I know this from personal experience as someone who stood up against the Tories and resigned over a public issue that affected many people that the Tories cast on the scarp heap, and my criticism of the then leader ( who ironically has since then been put on the back burner of politics himself). Yes you have a lot of plaudits for putting people before politics, and you can keep your head up and do the best for the community. Sadly two things happen then at election time. 1 is that voters have short memories, and rarely vote for independents anyway. 2 and more important is that one thing positive about the Tories is their electioneering machine, and when they have been kicked in the gonads they come out all guns blazing. In my case the ward was flooded with councillors and workers delivering about three or four different leaflets, knocking all doors canvassing, offering lifts to the polls etc, which despite all your best efforts, and independent cant compete with.
Despite that there were about 40 votes in it, which meant that had 21 people changed their vote I would have been re-elected- not bad effort. Then when you try to make comments and write letters in the press they try to belittle you. and they don't let go. Even years after it goes on. It is very sad, but is the nature of British politics. However , good luck to Phil Grove.
Whilst I fully endorse the actions of this man, it is a sad fact of reality that his political life is now dead in the water, especially as an ex Tory. I know this from personal experience as someone who stood up against the Tories and resigned over a public issue that affected many people that the Tories cast on the scarp heap, and my criticism of the then leader ( who ironically has since then been put on the back burner of politics himself). Yes you have a lot of plaudits for putting people before politics, and you can keep your head up and do the best for the community. Sadly two things happen then at election time. 1 is that voters have short memories, and rarely vote for independents anyway. 2 and more important is that one thing positive about the Tories is their electioneering machine, and when they have been kicked in the gonads they come out all guns blazing. In my case the ward was flooded with councillors and workers delivering about three or four different leaflets, knocking all doors canvassing, offering lifts to the polls etc, which despite all your best efforts, and independent cant compete with. Despite that there were about 40 votes in it, which meant that had 21 people changed their vote I would have been re-elected- not bad effort. Then when you try to make comments and write letters in the press they try to belittle you. and they don't let go. Even years after it goes on. It is very sad, but is the nature of British politics. However , good luck to Phil Grove. kidderlord
  • Score: 6

10:28pm Sun 2 Mar 14

sexymamma says...

Well done Cllr Grove you voted in the best interests of the people that elected you into office that's your duty, let's just hope that Prodger and Hardman will learn from yourself and put people before party politics however I very much doubt it, and as for the fire chief proposing these cuts to front line services sack him and replace him with someone who values his staff and is responsive to the needs of the communities they serve.
Well done Cllr Grove you voted in the best interests of the people that elected you into office that's your duty, let's just hope that Prodger and Hardman will learn from yourself and put people before party politics however I very much doubt it, and as for the fire chief proposing these cuts to front line services sack him and replace him with someone who values his staff and is responsive to the needs of the communities they serve. sexymamma
  • Score: 7

10:17am Mon 3 Mar 14

Omicron says...

"I hope the Tory fat controller is reading this - but of course he won't because he really doesn't listen. "
Fat Controller!!!! - that is about the most correct description, and most humorous, of Hardman I have heard to date. LOL again and again....
"I hope the Tory fat controller is reading this - but of course he won't because he really doesn't listen. " Fat Controller!!!! - that is about the most correct description, and most humorous, of Hardman I have heard to date. LOL again and again.... Omicron
  • Score: 6

3:57pm Mon 3 Mar 14

The Villan says...

Well done sir. Better to stand by your own principles and the safety of the public than tow the line with your party.
It's about time the other councillors were humble enough to respect they were voted in by their electorate and not by a god given right. The problem is they great delusions of grandeur once in office and forget why they stood for election in the first place.
Well done sir. Better to stand by your own principles and the safety of the public than tow the line with your party. It's about time the other councillors were humble enough to respect they were voted in by their electorate and not by a god given right. The problem is they great delusions of grandeur once in office and forget why they stood for election in the first place. The Villan
  • Score: 5

8:09am Wed 5 Mar 14

Keith B says...

Kidderlord is of course correct - the real punishment will not be that the Party shuns him, but so will many of his so called friends. The good news is of course that he will be able to make new true friends.

This happened a lot when the SDP was formed. Labour were worse and were vitriollic about people who left to join the SDP - and believe it or not still are. I know brothers who haven't spoken since 1980 because of it.

But the Tory's were just as bad and we have friends who simply stopped being invited to things simply because they switched - and similarly those relationships haven't healed.

When the SDP became the Liberal Democrats and I didn't go along with it - I became an independent and incidentally retained my Hallow seat - my core values remained the same but once again I did lose buddy's.

It's a real fact that belonging to a political Party is partly about a social grouping as much political affiliation and it is only somebody who genuinely believes in an issue who is going to blow both a career and social life for a cause.
Kidderlord is of course correct - the real punishment will not be that the Party shuns him, but so will many of his so called friends. The good news is of course that he will be able to make new true friends. This happened a lot when the SDP was formed. Labour were worse and were vitriollic about people who left to join the SDP - and believe it or not still are. I know brothers who haven't spoken since 1980 because of it. But the Tory's were just as bad and we have friends who simply stopped being invited to things simply because they switched - and similarly those relationships haven't healed. When the SDP became the Liberal Democrats and I didn't go along with it - I became an independent and incidentally retained my Hallow seat - my core values remained the same but once again I did lose buddy's. It's a real fact that belonging to a political Party is partly about a social grouping as much political affiliation and it is only somebody who genuinely believes in an issue who is going to blow both a career and social life for a cause. Keith B
  • Score: 0

7:43am Fri 21 Mar 14

Real Facts says...

Miss Capitol wrote:
Well done to him for standing up against the Bully boy mentality of Hardiman and Prodger . The meeting of the fire authority on 19 Feb 2014 was a joke and quite clear that if its a choice between protecting the frontline wholetime service or voting for the cheaper Part Time Services of the Butcher, Baker, or the Candlestick maker then that's what the Tories will do..... they gave big speeches about how well the service did in the recent Floods and now the true colours show if you do not agree with them your out and in comes someone to do what Progder and Hardiman want... How is it that a service that was flushed with monies 7 years ago is now in a deep deep mess ... maybe its because this Tory lead Authority has employed Two CFOs at the same time ..stumped up 1.2 million to correct the problem of the CFO Hayden Retirement darkle. Allowing the Treasurer to take early retirement over the matter. Costing £720K, a fire appliance bought in 2009 that never entered service never been to a fire call and is now quietly being sold off on the cheap.... Serious Sexual misconduct took place at a senior level which cost undisclosed sums of monies....and more ....And yet no one is held responsible... but now the service will be cut to the bone and carved up to make way for the Tories dream world that is the private sector in belif that they will come good... Remember G4S Olympics..

Good on you Phil for standing up and standing firm.... The Fire Authority should never be run by a complete bunch of uninterested buffoons that see it as way of playing party politics and if you ask any of them a fire service question they look at you with a expressionless face as if you are talking in a foreign language... It should instead be made up from stakeholders those who interest lies in its success.
Don't be silly.
People at high level held accountable?

Never happen.

The Tories will get what they stupidly think is the best option,
Front Line will be MASSACRED,
people will needlessly die.

And the upper class gravy boat will sail happily on.
[quote][p][bold]Miss Capitol[/bold] wrote: Well done to him for standing up against the Bully boy mentality of Hardiman and Prodger . The meeting of the fire authority on 19 Feb 2014 was a joke and quite clear that if its a choice between protecting the frontline wholetime service or voting for the cheaper Part Time Services of the Butcher, Baker, or the Candlestick maker then that's what the Tories will do..... they gave big speeches about how well the service did in the recent Floods and now the true colours show if you do not agree with them your out and in comes someone to do what Progder and Hardiman want... How is it that a service that was flushed with monies 7 years ago is now in a deep deep mess ... maybe its because this Tory lead Authority has employed Two CFOs at the same time ..stumped up 1.2 million to correct the problem of the CFO Hayden Retirement darkle. Allowing the Treasurer to take early retirement over the matter. Costing £720K, a fire appliance bought in 2009 that never entered service never been to a fire call and is now quietly being sold off on the cheap.... Serious Sexual misconduct took place at a senior level which cost undisclosed sums of monies....and more ....And yet no one is held responsible... but now the service will be cut to the bone and carved up to make way for the Tories dream world that is the private sector in belif that they will come good... Remember G4S Olympics.. Good on you Phil for standing up and standing firm.... The Fire Authority should never be run by a complete bunch of uninterested buffoons that see it as way of playing party politics and if you ask any of them a fire service question they look at you with a expressionless face as if you are talking in a foreign language... It should instead be made up from stakeholders those who interest lies in its success.[/p][/quote]Don't be silly. People at high level held accountable? Never happen. The Tories will get what they stupidly think is the best option, Front Line will be MASSACRED, people will needlessly die. And the upper class gravy boat will sail happily on. Real Facts
  • Score: 0

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