A Tory councillor has been accused of "having his cake and eating it" for retaining his £34,000 Town Hall salary whilst having a tilt at a seat in the House of Commons.
Paul Bristow, councillor for Fulham Reach ward and cabinet member for residents' services at Hammersmith and Fulham council, will contest Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland as Conservative parliamentary candidate at the upcoming general election.
In a leaflet circulated to the Labour-held constituency, seen by the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle, he says he lives "locally in Redcar" declaring: "It is an honour and a privilege to stand for Parliament here in Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland."
When contacted cllr Bristow said he also owns a flat in Shepherd's Bush where he lives during council business.
Cllr Bristow draws a £9,964 basic councillors' salary and an additional £23,838 allowance for his cabinet role.
He claims he is no different to councillors Lisa Nandy and Aidan Burley who are also running for parliamentary seats outside London at the next elections.
But questions have been raised about his commitment to his borough portfolio while he runs, according to his website, a very active campaign for a parliamentary seat in north England.
The issue took another twist when Cllr Bristow refused to say whether he will step down from his councillor duties if the general election is held on May 6, the same date of local polls.
"If it's the same day then it's probably not a decision I'll make, it'll be for the local Conservative party to make," he said.
Pointing to a strong attendance record at full council and cabinet meetings he added: "I don't feel being a parliamentary candidate is any way impinging on my ability to do my job in Hammersmith and Fulham."
Andrew Slaughter, Labour MP for Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush, says as a cabinet member cllr Bristow has slowly been scaling back his work in the borough, handing elements of his portfolio over to cabinet colleagues.
"He's been given a lot of taxpayers' money and seems to have been feather-bedded by the local Tories. You can't have your cake and eat it, either he gives up London for Middlesbrough or Middlesbrough for London. He surely can't live in both places at the same time?"
Lobby group the Taxpayers' Alliance urged cllr Bristow to publish a diary showing his work in the borough.
A spokesman said: “That way taxpayers could make up their own minds about whether they really are getting a good deal or not. People obviously don’t want large amounts of their money being paid to councillors who aren’t available to do the job they’re being paid for. Of course, any councillor elected to Parliament should immediately step down, too.”
Cllr Bristow - who is employed by Biba Medical Ltd a Fulham-based company owned by council leader Stephen Greenhalgh - was among those criticised for his silence over claims H&F Council did not deploy enough gritters on the borough's streets during recent snowfall.
But he has been quick to take aim at local councils in Teeside for failing to grit sufficiently.
Last week he hit out at the Labour Government for failing to secure jobs at the Corus Steel works in Teeside amid hopes the issue may galvanise Conservative support in a Labour heartland.
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “It’s quite common for candidates from all parties to spend time in council seats that they represent as well as seats they are campaigning for. Paul Bristow’s strong record speaks for itself.”