A COUNCILLOR has quit - with a blistering attack on the Tory leadership at Dorset Council.

Daryl Turner, who had represented the ward of Lyme and Charmouth for Dorset Council as a Conservative, was elected following elections in May 2019. He had previously served on both Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council and had important roles on the authorities.

The news of his resignation was revealed in an open letter which he published today and stated that his last official day as a councillor would be on Monday, February 14.

A by-election is expected to be held to fill the seat.

Cllr Turner cited a number of reasons for his departure in his letter, including the council's decision to again increase council tax, as well his move from Lyme Regis to Wales.

He also made reference to alleged remarks at a meeting last year that he said were made by council leader, Cllr Spencer Flower.

Mr Turner said in his letter: "Well folks it's council resignation time, unfortunately because of issues within the council I can’t find it in my heart to continue.

"I wanted innovation, working at pace and to be honest a little less risk aversion. If you believe dear old Boris and his 'followers' have problems then I can tell you the same mentality appears at other levels of government.

"Dorset Council will continue increasing your council tax even though it’s one of the country’s highest and will still be overspent. With no real drive towards creating income streams and easing your burden."

The councillor stated that he would be making the move away from Dorset to Wales following his resignation.

Cllr Turner referenced an incident whereby he claimed the leader of Dorset Council, Spencer Flower, unknowingly left his microphone on during a break of a full council meeting and made a remark.

Cllr Turner claims it was said by the leader that Cllr Turner would not be selected as a Conservative councillor again.

He had made a formal complaint against Cllr Flower, following the alleged remark, however the complaint was not pursued.

Cllr Turner claimed the remark was made to put pressure on him to vote a certain way.

Cllr Turner added in his letter: "Personally, I cannot forgive the words uttered by (Cllr Flower) during the break at a full council meeting. I felt that it broke a number of principles."

He continued: "To my dear Patch, Lyme & Charmouth, It will soon be time to elect a new councillor. Let’s hope for a refreshed newer model with plenty of get up and go.

"I’ve enjoyed most of the many years I’ve represented my patch and hope I’ve helped lots of you on many occasions."

In response, Cllr Flower said: “The resignation of Daryl Turner as a Dorset Councillor has been anticipated for some months, following his move to Wales. I am aware of his deep-rooted disappointment when he was not offered a position on the Cabinet following the May 2019 elections and it was equally disappointing for all his colleagues that Daryl found being team player such a challenge. However, Daryl has been a faithful councillor to his ward and we all wish him well with his new life closer to his family in Wales.”

Jonathan Mair, Corporate Director – Legal and Democratic who is also the Council’s statutory Monitoring Officer said: “As Monitoring Officer part of my role is to help councillors to maintain high standards of conduct. I also oversee the arrangements established under the Localism Act 2011 for the assessment and if necessary the formal investigation and hearing of complaints about councillors. One of the strengths of our arrangements for assessing complaints about councillors is the involvement of independent persons. These are independent people from outside the council who give their time to advise on complaints about councillors, including whether a complaint is serious to warrant a formal investigation.

“I can confirm that whilst he was still a councillor Mr Turner did complain to me about a remark that he said had been made by Cllr Spencer Flower. I referred the complaint to an independent person who advised that if Cllr Flower was to apologise there was no need for an investigation. Cllr Flower had no recollection of making the remark complained about but in order to avoid taking up time in an unnecessary investigation he apologised to Mr Turner.

“In line with the advice of the independent person I was satisfied that no further action was needed.”