Page last updated at 16:09 GMT, Monday, 26 January 2009

Late bill row councillor expelled

David Shaw
David Shaw queried the first invoice but was sent another one

A Bournemouth councillor has been expelled from the ruling Conservative party group over a late payment of about £4,100 he owed the council.

Councillor David Shaw was given programmes for Bournemouth Air Festival in Dorset in August 2008 to sell.

Bournemouth Borough Council said he had given the appropriate donation to charity but failed to repay the rest.

Mr Shaw said he had not paid the money because of a VAT dispute. He handed in a cheque for the amount on Monday.

He and volunteers sold about 900 programmes, priced at £5 each, with volunteers from the War Memorial Home charity.

Banker's cheque

A donation of about £400 was handed over to the charity, but the rest, about £4,100, was owed to the council to cover production costs.

A spokeswoman for Bournemouth Borough Council said the original invoice was sent in early October 2008.

Bournemouth Air Festival
The inaugural Bournemouth Air Festival took place in August 2008

Following a query regarding VAT from Mr Shaw, a revised invoice for the same amount was issued in December 2008.

But this went unpaid until Monday.

Mark Smith, director of tourism at the council, said: "I am pleased to report that a banker's cheque for the funds owed... has today been received from Councillor David Shaw so no further debt recovery action is required."

The council said it was "considering urgently" whether there has been any breach of its code of conduct.

A meeting of its standards committee would be held of further action is taken.

'Breach of trust'

Councillor Nick King, member for communication on the council, said the Conservative group met on Saturday to discuss the situation.

"The group decided to expel David from the Conservative group on the council," he told BBC News.

"We looked at a suspension but we felt that the elected representatives need to have the trust of their constituents.

"David has breached that trust - not just of his own constituents, but of the people who bought the air show programme, the people who helped him sell them and also of his colleagues.

"We needed to send a very clear message that that's incompatible with being a Conservative councillor."

Mr Shaw told BBC News that he had not seen the second invoice sent by the council because he had been away.

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