So Darlington Tories' line that they ditched their council Group Leader as part of a "fresh direction" lasted all of 12 hours.
The truth is in this morning's Northern Echo - Cllr. Richmond was forced out because his wife Sue is standing for Labour in the local elections.
Tony and Sue got married last February, but as they told the press just before Christmas, they were well aware of each other's political affiliations when they began their relationship, and had dealt with it. Politics was the one thing they couldn't agree on and didn't talk about.
Local Tories were intolerant of the situation, however, and Cllr. Richmond's fate was sealed. I find it genuinely astonishing that in the 21st century, the Conservatives are still stuck in the morality of the 19th, unable to handle the fact that a wife should be able to have different political affiliations to her husband. Tony's chief opposition in his College ward was after all the LibDems not Labour, and Sue will be fighting North Road for Labour where the incumbents are two LibDems and one Labour Councillor.
I guess there must have been some unease in senior Party circles which is why Graham Robb tried to cover up the truth with a bland press statement.
The facts are out, and now the Tories look a shabby, reactionary lot. The one person does emerge with some honour from all of this is Cllr. Peter Foster. Peter has come in for some stick elsewhere on the net, but on Friday he did himself proud, resigning from the Tory Group after the farce on Friday. His prediction that the Tories are now in for a period of civil war bodes ill for their chances in May.