THE row between Christchurch Conservatives over the local authority merger has come to a head with a formal complaint against nine councillors.

It is an internal party complaint hence the Echo has had to rely on anonymous Tory sources for information, but local party chairman Ray Bryan confirmed he had received the document and passed it on to Tory central office.

The complaint is believed to be against Cllrs Claire Bath, Bernie Davis, Tavis Fox, Wendy Grace, Vicki Hallam, Ray Nottage, Lisle Smith, Sue Spittle and Trevor Watts.

Yesterday Cllr Nottage, former leader of the borough, said he had been left in the dark about its substance by current leader Cllr David Flagg.

“He hasn’t engaged with me or any of the other eight councillors in respect of the complaint against us, we have no idea,” he said.

“It is a most peculiar way of going about things.

“I said before what we are doing now is executing Parliamentary law. It is the law of the land only until quashed, I accept, but that is what we are doing.”

The Echo understands the complaint was made by Cllr David Jones, a staunch opponent of the Local Government Reorganisation plan.

When approached, Cllr Jones said he could not make any comment for risk of jeopardising the proceedings.

Cllr Bryan said the complaint did not relate to LGR.

He said: “I can’t reveal any more information at the moment, the embargo should last about a week.”

However, all the nine councillors back the merger of Christchurch council with its two larger neighbours, and were criticised by colleagues this week for remaining at the first meeting of the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole shadow authority, not taking part in a walk-out by the others. In particular Cllr Flagg told the Echo he believed the election of Cllr Nottage as chairman of the shadow authority was a “slap in the face” to the people of the borough.

Formally Christchurch council has voted against LGR and it has initiated a legal challenge in a bid to overturn it.