AN EX-CONSERVATIVE councillor has successfully joined the Royal Borough Liberal Democrats after a five-week investigation into his conduct.

Councillor Gurch Singh (St Mary’s) was accepted into the Lib Dems following his resignation from the Tory party in June when the council leader, councillor Andrew Johnson (Conservative: Hurley Walthams), accused him of ten potential breaches of conduct.

Some of these accusations include using a racist word in a text message and suggesting a former councillor should be ‘taken out and shot’ because he failed to attend a panel meeting owing to his dementia.

At an executive meeting held by the Lib Dems, they found the ten accusations were ‘entirely without foundation’.

After the discussion, and a secret ballot, the committee decided to accept Cllr Singh’s application.

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Cllr Singh said: "I am delighted to have had my application for membership of the Liberal Democrats approved.

"I want to thank the executive committee for a thorough and impartial investigation of the accusations made by Cllr Johnson on the 17th of June.

"The process was a rigorous examination and nothing was glossed over."

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, councillor Simon Werner (Pinkneys Green), said: “I’m excited to have Gurch onboard. From what I’ve seen from him so far, he really cares for his residents, really cares for doing a great job, and I’m looking forward to working with him.

He added: “I think he [Cllr Singh] has the space to be able to be a fantastic councillor as it’s quite a toxic atmosphere within the Conservative party locally with lots of bullying and harassment.”

However, the council leader said he was not ‘not surprised’ by this decision and has called for the former Tory councillor to resign and fight a by-election.

He said: “They seemingly have low standards and are highly opportunistic.

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“It is also fair to say that Cllr Gurch Singh comes with a great deal of baggage, including live investigations into potential breaches of the Council’s Code of Conduct.”

Speaking to the Observer, he added: “I am sure he will keep the Liberal Democrats very busy, and that’s all I’m going to say.”

Cllr Johnson denies Cllr Werner’s allegations of bullying and harassment within the Royal Borough Conservative party.

During the investigation, the Liberal Democrats called for the Conservatives to ‘disclose fully the evidence they hold’ on the serious allegations Cllr Singh faced.

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Behind the scenes, the Conservatives offered the Lib Dems evidence during the investigation – but councillor Werner accused the Tories and the council leader of ‘refusing’ to give him further details due to ‘data protection’.

In response, councillor Johnson said: “All the material I had, I shared with Cllr Werner – but the only material I couldn’t share with him, for a variety of reasons, not least I would’ve had to have the written consent of all the individuals that Gurch made in his interviews with me.

“He named a number of parties that would’ve had to been contacted and secure the agreement of to release the tapes to Cllr Werner.”