Following his own confirmation that he was indeed a member of the Conservative Party on 13th August 2022, David Harper has been removed from membership of the Ashtead Independent Party. Rule 1 of the Ashtead Independents requires that membership is “open only to persons who are not members of any national political party”.
The decision to remove him from membership was taken unanimously by the other six Ashtead Councillors, our County Councillor, and a former Chairman of Mole Valley District Council, following discussion with other members of the Party. He has also been removed from membership of the Informal Independent Group within the Council by the Party’s six District Councillors.
The matter came to notice after he hosted a fund raising event for the Epsom & Ewell Conservative Association at his home in Ashtead, which selects and supports Conservative candidates in Ashtead and prints and distributes Conservative material in Ashtead. Apart from not disclosing this to the electors in Park Ward which he represents, he failed to disclose his membership as a “Registerable Interest” in the declaration he made on 2nd June 2022 to the Council (available on the MVDC website).
When he was re-elected for Park Ward in May 2021 as an Ashtead Independent, he received 852 votes, while the Conservative standing against him received just 369 votes. We regret that those voting for him as an Ashtead Independent were not made aware he was a Conservative, and it has been suggested that the honourable course of action for him now is to resign his seat.
Residents in Park Ward wishing to discuss any issues or concerns they have with an Ashtead Independent Councillor, are asked to raise them with either Cllr Garry Stansfield (Park Ward) or Cllr Hunt (Village Ward).
Cllr David L Hawksworth CBE
Leader, Ashtead Independents