ANSWERS have been demanded after a Labour Councillor was suspended without any public reason being given.
Councillor Elizabeth Hughes has been suspended by Hounslow Labour Group, subject to an appeal, the Chronicle has learned.
But a wall of silence surrounds the reason behind the sanction for the Heston West ward councillor, who was first elected in 2006.
Local party chiefs have refused even to confirm her suspension - it was left to Mrs Hughes herself to do that, after being approached by the Chronicle.
The party's regional office today confirmed she had been granted an appeal to be heard next week by a London Labour Party panel, but declined to comment on the reason for her suspension.
Opposition leaders insist voters who re-elected Mrs Hughes with a huge majority in 2010 deserve to know why local party chiefs have taken action against her.
"She has been a good, long-serving ward councillor. Given she was elected as a Labour councillor, people need to know what's happened to make the party lose confidence in her," said Hounslow Conservative Group leader Peter Thompson.
His comments came after he launched a scathing attack on standards within Hounslow Labour Group at Tuesday's (July 16) borough council meeting.
Referring to the appeals tribunal in May, at which Labour councillor Mohinder Gill was ruled to have breached the members code of conduct on three counts, but cleared of a further two breaches, he called on fellow councillors to reaffirm their commitment to maintaining the highest standards in public life.
"Let us all remember that first Nolan principle 'holders of public office should take decisions solely in terms of the public interest'," he said.
"In other words, party interests cannot be placed first and let us all remember that as conscientious councillors we have a duty to blow the whistle on misconduct."
Mr Thompson said that meant:
* no more appearances in Private Eye's Rotten Boroughs column
* no more using our position as a councillor to 'improperly secure and advantage for another person or persons'
* no more 'failing to treat (our officers) with respect'
* no more free and undeclared meals when eating at the restaurants of prominent party members
* no more conducting ourselves 'in a way which could reasonably be regarded as bringing his office or authority into disrepute'
* no more lowering 'the confidence of the public in the council's ability to take decisions as a planning authority'.
Mr Thompson's comments were greeted with applause by his fellow Conservatives and large swathes of those on the Labour benches.
Mr Gill was last summer stripped of his planning powers by the council's independent standards committee over his behaviour at a planning meeting in 2010.
A tribunal considering his appeal concluded in May he had breached the code of conduct on three counts by voting to allow an illegal extension to stand, in the face of clear photographic evidence supporting its demolition.
However, it ruled he had not known when making his decision that the property in question was home to former Labour candidate Harleen Atwal.
Neither Mr Gill nor any senior figure in the Hounslow Labour Group has ever publicly apologised for his behaviour, nor has he been sanctioned in any way by the party.