AN INDEPENDENT councillor’s bid to join the Conservative party has been rejected due to her “views and past history”, according to local party chiefs.

Cllr Lauren Banville, deputy mayor of Andover, is said to have made an attempt to join the Conservative party.

However, the local arm of the party says that when it was made aware of that application, it advised against accepting her membership as her "views and past history do not comply with the beliefs and values" of the group.

The comments refer to views she expressed about extremist group, the English Defence League (EDL) in 2018.

Cllr Banville has neither confirmed nor denied applying to join the party.

A spokesperson for the North West Hampshire Conservative Association (NWHCA) explained to the Advertiser that, in line with that party’s “vetting” process, when an attempt is made to join the Conservative Party on a national level, applications are run by the local association.

The local association - in this case, the NWHCA - can then recommend to central office whether or not the membership should be confirmed.

The spokesperson said: “Lauren Banville attempted to join the Conservative Party centrally but in line with the vetting process for new members the local Association has recommended to central office that her membership not be confirmed.

“Lauren has been a member of numerous political parties in the last 18 months including Labour, the Andover Alliance and then sitting as an Independent councillor.

“She was also removed from the local Labour Party for views she expressed about extremist group, the EDL.

“Her views and past history do not comply with the beliefs and values that we expect of Conservative Party members and it is for that reason that we are unable to accept her as a member.”

Cllr Banville said she “can’t make any comment at this time” and would neither confirm nor deny applying to join the party.

The deputy mayor was elected to the town council in May 2019. She stood as an Andover Alliance councillor but quit the party in October amidst claims that she wasn’t given a fair vote or voice.

Cllr Banville had previously been a member of the Labour party, serving as vice chair of Andover and North West Hampshire Labour.

However she left the party in June 2018 after defending EDL co-founder Tommy Robinson on social media following his arrest a month prior for contempt of court.