A FORMER Tory councillor is standing as an independent in the general election against the Tories following a controversy over Conservative association funds, writes Peter Lazenby.
Rob Holden was deputy chairman of the Calder Valley Conservative Association but resigned, along with association chairman Charles Moran.
Calder Valley in West Yorkshire is a key marginal which Labour lost in 2010 to Tory Craig Whittaker.
The Mormon church member retained the seat in 2015 with a majority of 4,427 but Mr Holden’s candidature could split the Tory vote.
The association’s accounts were seized by police in 2015 after allegations of irregularities, though no charges were brought.
Explaining his decision to leave the Conservatives, Mr Holden said: “We had an investigation into the finances of the organisation which I instructed.
“There were a large number of discrepancies in the finances of the association which brought up other matters, and as time went on we found fake invoices on the system.
“They had been generated then deleted from the system. It was a major, major issue to me and that is the way things started to fall apart.” He said he and Mr Moran called in the police.
“They seized the accounts. Eventually they decided they would not be in a position to press charges because the accounts were in such disarray. But it still left questions unanswered and I have taken steps to raise this with the police and crime commissioner.”