LibDems’ fury over Hadleigh Councillor Brian Riley’s emigration

Brian Riley celebrating with his daughter Kate and wife Alice on his election to the county council

Brian Riley celebrating with his daughter Kate and wife Alice on his election to the county council in 2013 - Credit: Archant

Emigrating councillor Brian Riley has come under fresh attack – this time from the party that held his Hadleigh seat for 24 years until 2013.

Mr Riley had the Conservative whip withdrawn from him this week after we revealed that he planned to remain a county councillor after emigrating to the USA next month.

However his move has also angered local Liberal Democrats – the town was held for the party by David Grutchfield from 1989 until he retired from the authority in 2013.

LibDem leader on the county council David Wood said: “Mr Riley’s decision to seek to remain on the county council after he emigrates beggars belief. You cannot represent your seat from 4,000 miles away.

“I’m away for a month every year, but I go at the quietest time of the year and there’s always a lot of work to catch up on when I return. It is nonsense to say you can do that through modern technology.

“The people of Hadleigh are used to having a county councillor who works very hard for the town. David (Grutchfield) was out and about all the time, meeting people in the street, attending meetings. It’s nonsense to think you can do that from America.”

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The LibDems would be ready for any by-election if Mr Riley does have a change of heart – but he has so far shown no sign of changing his mind.

He has been asked to attend meetings by both the South Suffolk Conservative Association and county council leader Mark Bee next week – and he is expected to be in Ipswich for the full meeting of the county council next Thursday.

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