Rebels behind council takeover plot revealed as 10 senior Tories face cull
A small band of rebel councillors were today named as the plotters behind moves to oust senior Conservatives on East Riding Council.
In an unprecedented cull, ten senior Tories are facing possible de-selection.
They include long-serving council leader Stephen Parnaby and four cabinet colleagues.
The scale of the purge has shocked many party supporters.
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Now, sources have identified a group of mainly backbench Tory councillors as the masterminds behind the plot, along with current cabinet member Matthew Grove.
They include Geoff Pickering, Paul Robinson and Gary Shores.
It is understood the group is making moves to oppose Mr Parnaby and his colleagues behind the scenes, as the selection process continues.
The Mail understands members of the selection committee have been made aware of the disquiet among the party regarding Mr Parnaby and his colleagues.
Another councillor, who did not wish to be named, said: "Everyone knows they are behind this.
"It's no secret to anyone. They should be big enough to come out and explain themselves."
All four either voted against their own group or abstained in a recent full council amended motion on a controversial decision to approve an early retirement package for the council's former director of resources Sue Lockwood.
The row broke out following the council's decision to use £364,205 of taxpayers' money to top up the director's pension fund.
But despite this, all four have been approved as candidates for next year's council elections in the newly-piloted selection process.
The new process sees a panel choosing a shortlist of candidates eligible to stand for election, which is then sent to the relevant party association to choose from.
The Mail has learned that two local party associations have now lodged official protests at the way the new-look selection process has been handled.
They include Haltemprice and Howden and East Yorkshire.
One senior association figure is known to have described it as a "fiasco", claiming the process could be open to manipulation.
The two associations are calling for the process to be brought back in-house.
The Mail has also discovered the four rebel councillors have all been accepted as 'friends' on the Facebook page of Ruth Sayner, a Selby councillor who has chaired the controversial selection process.
She is the North and East Yorkshire area chairman.
Two of their wives are also among her 56 friends, but no other East Riding councillors are listed.
Ms Sayner declined to comment when contacted by the Mail.
After the selection committee's decisions were announced, Councillor Shores posted a YouTube video of Lou Reed's Perfect Day on his own Facebook page.
All ten councillors missed off the shortlist are now appealing.
When contacted by the Mail, Mr Shores said he could not to comment while appeals had yet to be heard.
Mr Robinson, speaking on behalf of Mr Grove and Mr Pickering, said the same.
"There is a process to go through and it would be wrong to make any comment while that process is on-going," he added.
Appeals involving nine of the ten councillors are to be heard by their respective association executive committees this week."