Race-row councillor still plans to appeal his expulsion from Conservative Party

Coun Jeff Milburn.
Coun Jeff Milburn.

A South Tyneside councillor caught up in a racism row still plans to appeal his expulsion from the Conservatives – despite missing a 28-day deadline.

Jeff Milburn insists he has contacted party chiefs by phone and email to alert them to his position and intention to fight on.

The Cleadon and East Boldon ward member, who was booted out in March, admits he failed to meet the four-week cut-off point.

But he insists it was done so as not to distract the Tories from campaigning ahead of local elections, held earlier this month.

Coun Milburn, who denies the allegations against him, said: “I rang the party up and I’ve sent them an email saying that I want to appeal. I have to stress that I’m going to appeal.

“I’ve contacted the Conservative party on several occasions and I’m still waiting calls. I thought that this could be done after the election.

“I have to say that I have still never seen the written allegations against me, they’ve never given them to me – I don’t think that they have them.

“I prefer to do things without washing my dirty laundry in public.”

The Conservatives have failed to explain the reason for Coun Milburn’s expulsion, confirming only that it has happened.

It came in the wake of a racism allegation against him from former South Shields Conservative Association chairman Ajay Jagota.

Mr Jagota has claimed Coun Milburn directed an abusive comment towards him at a party function in September.

The lettings agency boss quit his post in February in protest at what he said was a failure by Tory head office to investigate his claim.

Neither Coun Milburn nor his lawyer attended the hearing, but he has confirmed he wrote a letter in support of his position.

Jack White, chairman of the South Tyneside Conservatives, formed in February from the amalgamation of the South Shields and Jarrow association branches, said he was unaware of any appeal.

He added: “I’ve not heard anything about it. He had 28 days to appeal, and as far as I’m aware he has not.

“He’s an independent councillor now although he’s still listed on the council’s website as being elected as a Conservative.”

The Conservative party said it did not comment on internal matters.