By Rex Osborn, Leader of the Labour Group On October 31, Wandsworth councillor Robert Morritt, who represents East Putney Ward, was removed from the Wandsworth Conservative Group. For now he remains a councillor but the voters of East Putney did not elect an independent in 2010. The honourable course of action for Cllr. Morritt is to resign his Council seat. To be removed from the Conservative Group, Cllr. Morritt must have done something wrong. The voters of East Putney should be told what it was Cllr Morritt did. Allegations have appeared in two national publications, and a website, concerning the conduct of Cllr. Morritt and his handling of funds during his time employed by Wandsworth Conservatives and his early days as a councillor. He has insisted he is innocent. The voters of Wandsworth deserve to be told which, if any, of these allegations are true. Whatever it was that Cllr. Morritt did up to 2010, accusations first surfaced in public in July 2012. Since then the Wandsworth Conservative Leader has prevaricated and delayed taking any action. No doubt the Conservatives fear this affair exposes their indecision and their lack of financial good sense but there are serious questions unanswered. Has Cllr. Morritt broken any law? Who knew what Cllr. Morritt had done? And when did they know it? Cllr. Morritt should go - but Wandsworth Conservatives should come clean.
Wandsworth Labour Leader Rex Osborn has given the following statement following news reports about Cllr. Morritt:
‘The allegations of misuse of Conservative funds are very serious, and may be a matter for the police. We welcome the move by Cllr Govindia to suspend Cllr Morritt from his committee responsibilities while the matter is investigated, but it would be wrong to delay a full explanation until the start of the suspension in October. Answers must be given now.
There are questions to be answered about when these allegations were first known to the Wandsworth Conservatives. If there is any evidence that they have covered up wrongdoing from as far back as 2010, they must say so and explain what took place, before this affair damages the reputation of Wandsworth Council.’
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