Thanet Green Party’s Trevor Roper has resigned his seat at Thanet District Council.
Mr Roper was elected in 2019 to represent Thanet Villages Ward.
Last month former councillor Ian Driver published blog posts accusing Mr Roper of ‘a lack of truthfulness’ over the sale of his house in Minster and ‘a move’ to France while still serving as a district councillor.
Mr Driver published two posts highlighting the sale of the property 14 months ago by Mr Roper and his failure to notify the council’s Monitoring Officer, which can constitute a breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct.
Mr Driver went on to say that Mr Roper made a social media post on May 15 this year which included a geolocation tag placing him in the area of Fontenille Saint Martin D’Entragues in southwest France.
A second post by Mr Driver says Cllr Roper had responded to say he was in France and had forgotten to update his details with the council.
Mr Driver questioned this on the basis of councillors having received training for the code of conduct and an exchange of emails between the councillor and TDC Democratic Services about making the update.
Thanet Green Party responded to say they were ‘puzzled’ over the ‘vicious attack’, which they described as ‘distorted, inaccurate and based on half-truths’.
A statement issued by the party said: “After selling their house in Minster last year, Cllr Roper and his wife Karen rented in Ramsgate for a few months and later stayed with relatives in Maidstone.
“During this time he continued with his council duties as usual, including attending many parish council meetings in his Thanet Villages ward, for which he has chalked up nearly 100% attendance since his election in 2019. When travel was allowed again, the Ropers went to France to realise their retirement dream of buying a French property – only to find themselves stuck there by increasingly restrictive Covid rules and trouble obtaining vaccinations.
“Cllr Roper continued to attend online meetings and undertake other duties from a distance, but could not return from France – so when physical meetings restarted in May, he was unable to attend.
“Mr Driver’s blog claims Cllr Roper has behaved ‘deceitfully’ – but colleagues insist he has deceived no-one, and his only error was forgetting to update TDC’s Register of Members’ Interests to show he had sold his Minster property.”
The party has now posted Mr Roper’s resignation letter to social media.
It states: “I have today sent in my resignation as a TDC Councillor. This has become inevitable as after my wife and I bought a house in France last year and have become stuck here due to the Covid restrictions. We had hoped to return frequently to continue with my Councillor duties, but now feel that this is impractical.
“I feel very proud to have been one of the first Green Party Councillors at TDC, but know that Tricia, Beck and Mike (Green councillors) will continue to be an effective force for good in Thanet and beyond.”