Ipswich Tories to announce Shayne Pooley's fate in mid-March

Shayne Pooley, Ipswich borough councillor for the Gainsborough Ward, has been suspended by the Conservative party

Shayne Pooley was suspended by Ipswich Conservatives over his social media posts apparently justifying Putin's invasion of Ukraine. - Credit: TASS/PA IMAGES/IPSWICH BOROUGH COUNCIL

A decision on Shayne Pooley's future as a Conservative councillor in Ipswich will not be announced until it has formally been ratified by local party officials in two weeks' time.

A disciplinary committee of the Ipswich Conservative Association met on Tuesday evening to discuss Mr Pooley's posts on Facebook which claimed that the state of Ukraine didn't officially exist - and that Russia's President Putin just wanted to give "the people of Ukraine" their independence.

These comments were subsequently deleted and Mr Pooley issued an apology for them

The Ipswich Conservative Association issued a statement on Saturday saying that Mr Pooley had been suspended by its group on the borough council while the disciplinary process took place.

Group leader Ian Fisher informed the borough's monitoring officer of the suspension on Monday morning - but it wasn't until Wednesday afternoon that the borough changed its website to reflect the fact that he now sat as an independent.

His position in the group is important because the size of the group helps to decide its allocation of committee places.

The decision by the disciplinary committee has to be ratified by the full executive of the association which is due to meet on March 16 - and it has said it will make no further comment on Mr Pooley's status within the party or the council group until then.

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The news about the posts has prompted widespread outrage, even after Mr Pooley issued his apology through the Conservative Association.

He said then: "Upon reflection, I can see that my social media posts were wrong and were made as a result of believing false propaganda that has been presented as facts.

"I profusely and sincerely apologise for any offence that I have caused and offer my support to the people of Ukraine."

When he won the seat last year he was the first Conservative to take a Gainsborough seat on the borough council - although there have been Conservative Gainsborough county councillors in the past because the county division has slightly different boundaries to the borough ward.