A CONSERVATIVE councillor suspended for the past six months has now left the party after 49 years’ membership.

The long-running investigation into the conduct of Bournemouth councillor Douglas Spencer ended with an official ruling that he be suspended for “more than a year”.

But the Winton East councillor claims he had resigned before this suspension was imposed, claiming he has “no confidence” in Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns.

Central Office has previously refused to comment on the nature of the investigation into Cllr Spencer, but has now confirmed it was to do with the racist text row that broke earlier this year, when another Tory councillor, Richard Powell, admitted forwarding offensive jokes on his personal mobile phone.

A spokesperson for the party said: “We investigated a number of issues that related to Cllr Spencer’s behaviour both as a councillor and association officer that related to the unacceptable and offensive use of racist material that extended to a judgement about his behaviour, which renders him unfit to hold public or private office.”

But Cllr Spencer, who was removed from his position as chairman of the Bournemouth West Conservative Association when he was first suspended, claims he was unfairly dragged into the racist text row and that the real issue was his strained relationship with Mr Burns.

“This allegation has no foundation whatever,” he said in a press statement. “I certainly received a text in the summer which I deleted and which was widely reported in the media at the time. This decision by the party has been taken because of the total breakdown of confidence I have in the current member of parliament whilst I was chairman of the association.”

Cllr Spencer remains an independent councillor on Bournemouth council and said he would consult the residents of Winton East before deciding whether to stand for re-election.

Mr Burns had not commented at the time of going to press.

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