A GANG of three opposition councillors who founded a rival party on the eve of the local elections have been sensationally expelled.
An emergency party meeting has kicked out Gary Wilkes, Claire Daington and Brian Merry after finding they had compromised the Metro's official opposition party, Community Action, and brought it into disrepute.
The dozen-strong CAP Executive rejected the councillors' claims they had registered the new Community Performance First Party – complete with logo and headquarters in Ashton – to close a "loophole" preventing others from using the title for political purposes.
The executive voted down a bid to restrict punishment to a final written warning to the three councillors.
CAP chief Coun Peter Franzen has admitted that the first he and the party hierarchy knew about move was reading the Evening Post story.
Two of the three, Claire Daington and Brian Merry, have now refused to withdraw from the council election despite being expelled from the party which nominated them.
The Electoral Commission has confirmed that under the archaic rules of the British electoral system, the Community Action Party does not have the power to stop the expelled councillors from standing under their party ticket this polling day, May 4.
This will now mean the extraordinary position of Coun Merry and Daington asking people to vote for a party they no longer officially represent.
Bryn member Coun Wilkes, who is not up for re-election this term, is now free to change his allegiance to the new CPF party if he wishes.
Under CAP rules, all three are expected to exercise their right to appeal against their expulsion.
Coun Franzen last night confirmed the expulsions, but would only say they had come about because of the will of the majority of the party after a "full and fair" hearing.