Two Conservative councillors expelled from their group on Poole council after a disciplinary meeting have pledged to continue representing residents.

“I feel very upset but I also feel like a big burden has been lifted. I can now represent residents’ views,” said Cllr David Gillard, who has stood for Oakdale since May 2003.

Fellow lifelong Conservative Cllr Carole Deas, who was elected at the same time to represent Canford Cliffs ward, said she was “absolutely devastated” by the group’s decision.

“It is because, in my view, I have consistently represented the residents that all this has happened,” she said.

A secret ballot was held by the 20 members present at the group meeting and a two-thirds majority was needed to expel the two.

They claim they did not have a fair hearing and their legal representative Jon Payne was not allowed to speak for them or attend the meeting.

“Both Mr Gillard and Mrs Deas are now considering their position and deciding what action to take,” said Mr Payne.

A long standing disagreement with the leadership, extending back five years, resulted in the Tory Two supporting an alternative 3.9 per cent Democrat budget in February and failing to support their own party’s 4.8 per cent council tax rise.

Group leader Cllr Ann Stribley described their stand as “close to the final straw”.

She said if they had agreed to work as part of a team and support the administration, they would have been welcomed back.

The “charge sheet” includes not supporting group decisions, making no attempt at reconciliation, poor attendance for Cllr Deas since the suspension and making unauthorised press statements.

Deputy group leader Cllr Elaine Atkins said: “This is nothing to do with planning whatsoever.

“It is being said this is all about supporting residents and planning issues. That’s absolute nonsense.”

Cllr Stribley said: “I am extremely saddened by the whole process.”

This is the first time in Poole that members have been expelled from the group.

The two are now seeking their own group room at the Civic Centre and will be entitled to representation on committees.

“We feel we have upheld the principles of the Conservative Party and members code of conduct,” said Cllr Deas.