CONSERVATIVE district councillor James Duddy, who has represented the Wythall South ward since 2006, has resigned from the authority.

And speculation a major rift with the leadership of the Conservative Party in Bromsgrove was the reason behind his resignation has been staunchly denied by the council leader Roger Hollingworth.

Mr Duddy stood down with immediate effect last Wednesday, (March 9).

Rumours suggested Mr Duddy clashed with the leadership after being removed from the cabinet last May, and asking a question about “secret plans” to build a mosque in the district at a full council meeting last June.

When asked the reason behind his resignation Mr Duddy told the Advertiser/Messenger: “I am moving from the area and will not be able to represent constituents anymore.

“It is as simple as that.”

Coun Hollingworth said the rumours being circulated, are "electioneering".

He said: “I made no secret of the fact I was disgusted by the question at the time. It came and it went, and he has served as a councillor since.

“He was removed from the cabinet because he was not performing properly.

“He is leaving (the authority) because he is moving.”

Councillor Geoff Denaro, the council’s deputy leader, echoed Mr Hollingworth’s comments.

“Differences of opinion do happen in the council, it is normal.

“He has been an excellent councillor, he is young, and will be a loss to us.”

Mr Duddy was elected to the seat in an April 2006 by-election, after overcoming opposition from Labour and the Wythall Ratepayers’ Association.

He retained the seat in the council elections of May 2007, and served on the cabinet as portfolio holder for economic development, town centre regeneration and revenue generation between May 2009 and 2010.

Constituents will be able to choose a new councillor for Wythall South in the district council elections this May.