THREE Andover Alliance councillors have been expelled amid allegations of “bringing the party into disrepute”.

Test Valley Borough councillors David Coole, Christopher Ecclestone and Rebecca Meyer were removed from the party on Thursday last week after concerns over a number of issues.

Last month the trio were informed of their suspensions by party leader Richard Rowles, who also sits on the borough council and is chairman of the town council.

An investigation followed, but, according to the Andover Alliance (AA), none of the councillors “were able to provide a defence” and it has been said that they also failed to respond to party invitations to a disciplinary hearing, which lead to the expulsion.

Councillor Rowles said: “We feel awful that the three people used our party name to get voted and then chose a different route to the will of the people who voted them in.”

He added: “We want to do the job for which voters gave us the mandate.

“Now we have removed their egotism, we can continue with our work of making Andover a better place.”

And party secretary Councillor Lauren Banville said: “As sad as this is we have had no option to remove them from our party to preserve the good nature and purpose of the Andover Alliance and the serious business of making our town a better place.”

The expulsion comes after the party split at the first meeting of Test Valley Borough Council in May when councillors Ecclestone and Coole registered as a notified group within the authority and the rest opting to remain as a ‘non-notified’ group.

Cllr Meyer then joined the notified group shortly after.

One of those expelled, Cllr Coole, has hit back at the procedure leading up to the decision, stating that the trio responded to the suspension.

He said: “Christopher replied in his own right and I replied on behalf of the three Cllrs, informing her that the actions being taken were unlawful, unconstitutional and that they should desist.”

Cllr Coole added that the party were warned solicitors would be in touch if they continued with the matter.

“They did not desist, they issued an unlawful statement bringing the AA into disrepute.”

Cllr Ecclestone added that the notified group changed its name on TVBC to Andover Independents earlier this month, which has been recognised by the council.

He added: “The reality is that we just want to be left to get on with council business and get ourselves away from the financial shambles that is the Andover Alliance.”