A COUNCILLOR who was re-elected after pleading guilty to assaulting a woman has resigned from the Conservative Party.

Hartlepool councillor Gordon Cranney was returned to his Seaton ward last week.

The councillor, who had kept his court appearance from his Tory colleagues, has now resigned from the party.

He is now listed as an independent councillor on Hartlepool Borough Council's website.

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Ray Martin-Wells, president of the Hartlepool Conservative party, said: “We are disappointed that councillor Cranney has resigned without standing again as an independent.”

He added: “He was voted as a Conservative and had a mandate as a Conservative. He doesn’t have a mandate to stand as an independent.

“We would urge him to get a fresh mandate from the people for him to stand as an independent councillor.”

On Saturday, Cllr Cranney appeared to resign but later backtracked.

And earlier this week Conservative councillors said they would boycott meetings until he resigned.

Mr Martin-Wells said the boycott had collapsed due to a lack of support from Labour members.

Cllr Cranney was suspended by the Conservatives last week after the news of his  conviction emerged.

He appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on April 28. He admitted a charge of assault by beating, relating to an attack on February 6 in Hartlepool.

He was given a two-year community order, told to attend a violence reduction programme and ordered to pay fines totalling £180.

Days after admitting to the assault he met and was photographed with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was campaigning in Hartlepool.

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Election rules say candidates cannot stand if they have been convicted of an offence and received a prison sentence - or suspended sentence - of more than three months (without the option of a fine) in the five years before a ballot is held.

Cllr Cranney has been contacted for comment.

The councillor used his Gordon Cranney – Seaton Ward Councillor page on Facebook to post a video of him singing a cover of Robbie William’s Better Man.

It was accompanied with the message: “So, I have no done any Facebook ‘a capella’ since June 2016 (Brexit)

“So… It’s time, given current circumstances.”

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