Worthing borough councillor subject to investigation resigns his seat

A councillor has resigned his seat on Worthing Borough Council during an ongoing investigation into his conduct.

Monday, 18th October 2021, 1:26 pm
Tim Wills has resigned as a Worthing Borough Councillor

Former Marine ward representative Tim Wills stepped down on Friday (October 15) after anti-racist campaign group HOPE not Hate said he allegedly sent messages to a Telegram chat associated with Patriotic Alternative.

PA is described on Wikipedia as a British far-right, white nationalist group.

Following the allegations earlier this month, Mr Wills’ membership of the Worthing Conservative group and the Conservative Party was suspended.

An ongoing investigation is being handled by the Conservative Party’s complaints board and WBC is also carrying out an investigation after a complaint was made under its code of conduct.

A statement on the council’s website reads: “Councillor Tim Wills, a representative for Marine Ward, has today (15th October 2021) resigned his seat on Worthing Borough Council.

“Councillor Wills is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the council under its Code of Conduct procedures following remarks he is alleged to have made in an online forum run by an organisation called the Patriotic Alternative.

“He had already been suspended by the Conservative Party pending an investigation.

“In accordance with procedures the vacancy on the council will be advertised on this website in due course.”

Last week council leader Dan Humphreys said Patriotic Alternative ‘does not share the aims and ideals of the Conservative Party’.

Mr Humphreys stressed that the Worthing Conservative group ‘remains committed to promoting equality between all people and opposing all forms of racism’.

Labour group leader Rebecca Cooper (Marine) was active in calling for Mr Wills’ immediate resignation following the allegations.

The Adur and Worthing branch of Stand up to Racism had also scheduled a demonstration ahead of Tuesday’s full council meeting to call for Mr Wills’ resignation.

The group says it plans to continue with the demonstration and one member explained: “We are still concerned about the selection process that allowed this to happen and the leadership of the council in how they have dealt with this very serious situation.

“We have also submitted some questions to full council.”

Mr Wills has been contacted for comment by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The vacancy left by his resignation has altered the political make-up of the council, leaving the Conservatives without a majority.

The Conservatives currently have 18 seats compared to the 15 seats held by Labour. Three seats are held by Liberal Democrats and one is now vacant.

This is due to be discussed at WBC’s full council meeting as it could have implications for committee membership and Liberal Democrat councillors may gain more representation on these committees as a result