Councillors respond after Tory quits whip

Patrick Warner ENGSNL00120120501133008
Patrick Warner ENGSNL00120120501133008

Conservative councillors have distanced themselves from their former political colleague Patrick Warner, who quit the party whip last week after fresh financial details about the collapse of his business were revealed.

In a statement this week the Conservative members of Eastbourne Borough Council said they had no power to remove Sovereign’s Councillor Warner from the council itself but that he was no longer a party councillor and would not be re-selected to stand for the party next May.

A statement from Conservative councillors said, “Councillor Warner had previously given his colleagues assurances that accusations about the running of his business were inaccurate and without foundation. To our disappointment we find that the issues surrounding the collapse of his business were far more serious than we had been led to believe.”

Eastbourne Conservative Association also said this week his membership of the party would be considered at an executive committee meeting at the end of October.

Mr Warner resigned the party whip – and lost his seats on various council committees – after his former friends, ex Conservative councillor Nigel Goodyear and Paul Taylor, the son of Conservative stalwart Barry Taylor, said they had lost £100,000 after investing in Mr Warner’s company Sterling Automotive Ltd and saw no returns.

It was also revealed that tax deducted from the wages of employees at Mr Warner’s company was not paid to HMRC and both Mr Goodyear and Mr Taylor said Mr Warner used the business account as his own personal account. The two men also said they had tried to pick up the pieces and pay off creditors when the company folded in 2011 with debts of more than £225,000.

Mr Warner said it had been a challenging time for him personally and he had made arrangements and kept up payments on a considerable amount of personally guaranteed business debt and remain committed to doing so in the future.

He also said he felt there was a small number of individuals interested in undermining his position.