US-based councillor Brian Riley returns to Suffolk – and seeks new seat
- Credit: Archant
The councillor who sparked outrage by trying to represent his constituents from his new home in America has moved back to Suffolk – and is hoping to secure a seat on Ipswich Borough Council.
Brian Riley was elected Conservative county councillor for Hadleigh in 2013 after serving for several years on Babergh District Council.
But two years later he told constituents that he and his family were moving to North Carolina in the United States. He said he planned to continue to serve as a councillor because he would be returning to Suffolk on business regularly and could fit council meetings around that.
He was expelled from the Conservative group, but continued to sit as a councillor for more than a year before he finally stood down in August 2016.
Now he has returned to Suffolk and has moved to a new house at Pinewood. He is hoping to stand as a Conservative in May's elections to Ipswich council. Although he lives outside the borough, he would be eligible because he is a director of a company registered in Ipswich.
Mr Riley, who is in his mid 70s, said: "We returned to the UK because we couldn't face the cost of health insurance in the US, it was costing us $20,000 a year. But I want to take an active role in life and I think I have something left to give.
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"I'm going to a selection day on Sunday and would like to be given the chance to fight a winnable seat in Ipswich. I don't want to lead the group or anything like that but I would welcome the opportunity to do more council work."
He said he was now settling back into life in Suffolk and was keen to have his say on many of the issues facing Ipswich over the next few years.
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Ipswich council Conservative group leader Ian Fisher said he had heard that Mr Riley wanted to put his name forward to fight a council seat.
He said: "Anyone who is a member of the party and is eligible to stand for an election in a council area can put him or herself forward at a selection meeting.
"Whether they are selected to fight a seat in the election depends on what the members of the selection panel think. I will be part of the selection panel on Sunday, but I don't actually have a vote because I'm a member of the Central Suffolk and North Ipswich Conservative Association, not the Ipswich association."