CONVICTED criminal Tony Ramsden has resigned the chairmanship of his local Federation of Small Businesses after a Daily Echo report.
His appointment – months after he had been sent to jail and described as a “liability in business” – had provoked outrage.
Several members had told the Echo they could not remain with the federation as long as Mr Ramsden remained chairman of its Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch branch.
In an email to a Federation of Small Busines ses (FSB) member, honorary national secretary Dave Stallon said: “I would confirm that Anthony Ramsden has resigned as the Bournemouth branch chairman.”
Mr Ramsden was jailed for 10 months last September for obtaining credit as an undisclosed bankrupt and five breaches of the Insolvency Act. Jailing him, Judge John Harrow said he was a “liability in business”.
Award-winning entrepreneur Sam Acton, who runs Domestic Angels in Southbourne, had cancelled her membership of the FSB on Friday.
She said at the weekend that the episode had “undermined the credibility” of the FSB.
She added: “If somebody’s going to represent small businesses, such as the FSB, then they’ve got to be people of the right moral standing and with the right business background.”
She had quit despite having received a “fantastic service” from the FSB in the past, she said.
Harry Seccombe, owner of Chaplins and the Cellar Bar and vice-chairman of Boscombe Forum, had also been seeking to quit.
He said yesterday: “It’s good that he’s resigned, which is the proper thing to do, but it should never have happened in the first place.
“I’ll still be asking questions about how they ended up in this position.”
Former Poole councillor Don Collier, who has been a member of the FSB for many years, said he was among many members who had not paid enough attention to the election.
“I’d really like FSB members to do what I’m going to do and pay more attention.
“It’s a good organisation and we shouldn’t allow this piece of silliness to detract from that,” he added.
“We the members are responsible.
“We are the people who let this happen.
“We can’t blame anyone but ourselves and if there is an officer who dropped the ball, I feel absolutely sure the FSB nationally will deal with them in the appropriate manner.”
Southbourne care home owner Geoff Rhodes, a member for many years, had said the appointment was “unbelievable” and he would not be renewing his membership while Mr Ramsden was in the post.
Mr Ramsden – whose father David is the branch secretary – was not available for comment.