THE father of disgraced businessman Tony Ramsden has resigned his post with a public body that hands out tens of millions of pounds.

David Ramsden said Daily Echo reports about his son had prompted his resignation as a director of the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership.

Tony Ramsden had resigned within 24 hours of the Echo revealing that he had been appointed chairman of the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.

The appointment came soon after he was released early from a 10-month jail sentence.

David Ramsden was the branch’s secretary and has previously been its chairman.

He is the federation’s national chairman on tax and economic affairs, despite having been bankrupted in the past.

Local Enterprise Partnerships were set up to involve the business community in channelling public money to promote economic growth. The Dorset LEP had already secured more than £45million for local projects.

In a statement, David Ramsden said: “As a result of the adverse publicity afforded to me by the Bournemouth Daily Echo and because the LEP is a publicly-funded body, unlike the FSB which takes no public funding, I decided to offer my resignation from the board of the Dorset LEP, which the chairman has accepted with regret.

“I was appointed to the board in my own right and not because I was a member of the FSB.

“During my time as a director of the LEP I have had the privilege of leading the Growing Places Fund in Dorset and hope that in some small way I have made a contribution to the improvement of the economy in Dorset.

“I would like to make it clear that my role within the LEP was a voluntary role which carried no remuneration, nor expenses.”

The chairman of Dorset LEP, Gordon Page, said: “He has tendered his resignation for personal reasons. I accepted it and also his resignation from his place on the Growing Places steering group.”

Cllr Philip Eades, who stressed he was speaking as a Poole councillor rather than in his role as the town’s mayor, said: “I have been pestering the Dorset LEP for more than a year on their recruitment and appointment procedures.

“I welcome the resignation of Mr Ramsden but still remain concerned that too much of the LEP’s work and their decisions are taken and kept in secret.”

David Ramsden led Dorset LEP’s Growing Places Fund, which won £9.6m from government to lend to projects which would generate economic activity and growth.