Councillors demand 'tough action' over Conservative Club's alleged lockdown breach
Councillors have called for "tough action" after a Conservative club was suspected of breaching lockdown regulations.
Labour members said Tory-run Dudley Council needed to impose strict punishment on Sedgley Conservative Club and set an example.
But leader Councillor Patrick Harley stressed it was not a party political issue – and urged the opposition to "read the rulebook" over its calls.
Councillor Shaukat Ali, shadow cabinet member for public health and adult social care, said the alleged breach was "selfish and greedy".
He said: "I am very concerned to hear that the Sedgley Conservative Club allegedly breached Covid-19 guidance.
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"Many people including frontline NHS staff, social care and key workers have made great sacrifices putting themselves at risk to protect us all.
"However, we have some members of the Sedgley Conservative Club who feel that the rules don’t apply to them.
"The council has warned local businesses that they will come down hard on people who flout these rules and this is time for the council to demonstrate that it means what it says."
Conservative council leader Patrick Harley said: "Conservative clubs have very little to do with the political party they are named after nowadays.
"I would not count Sedgley Conservative Club as one of my regular drinking holes and the clubs have no correlation or connection to this party in Dudley.
"It has no connection to do with the council and the political group running it – my Conservative group.
"We may share the same name but we have no influence over them, like the Labour Party clubs or the Liberal Party clubs before that."
Councillor Harley said a decision would be made by the council's licensing group based on the information collated.
"We take a very dim view of those continuing to trade through the restrictions – and it's down to the licensing committee, as and when they meet, to decide their approach," he said.
"It's a statutory committee so it should be free from party politics and I would like Councillor Ali to read the rulebook instead of preaching to others.
"It should be free from party politics and it will have Labour members and Conservative members on the board. It will decide on this case based on the information put together by officers that support this work.
"I personally take a very dim view of businesses breaking the rules – they are there for a reason and should not be broken, they have no excuse."
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