By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Disgraced Ashfield councillor Tom Hollis will continue to work as a backbench politician for the next few weeks but has not made a final decision on whether he will remain in elected office.
Cllr Hollis (Ash Ind) was found guilty of harassment without violence and careless driving last week after two separate trials over four days at Nottingham Magistrates’ Court.
The trials related to separate incidents in 2020, firstly in May and the second in September, with Hollis, 29, found guilty of both offences.
He will be sentenced next month.
Cllr Jason Zadrozny (Ash Ind) has since dismissed him from the positions of deputy leader of Ashfield District Council and the authority’s cabinet member for housing.
However, Cllr Hollis remains an elected councillor for Huthwaite and Brierley on Ashfield District Council and for Sutton West on Nottinghamshire County Council. He has not directly indicated any plans to resign.
He also continues to represent the Ashfield Independents and has not had the party whip removed.
Now the convicted politician has revealed no decision has been made on whether he will continue as a politician beyond his current terms in office.
His seat in Huthwaite and Brierley will be up for election in May 2023 as part of wider Ashfield polls, and he says he is taking the next few weeks to decide whether to stand again.
He is also unsure whether he will attend council meetings throughout the coming weeks, fearing his guilty verdicts will be a “distraction”.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I’m going to stick to my constituency work for a couple of weeks.
“I probably won’t be attending meetings either because I will be a distraction. I will be considering where I want to go in the future during this time.
“I need to think about where I want to go moving forwards. I care about what I do and I’m upset about losing the deputy leadership, but I understand actions do have consequences.
“With regards to whether I remain as a councillor, I need to think about where I go from here and have a few weeks to clear my head.”
Cllr Hollis’ term as divisional member for Sutton West on Nottinghamshire County Council is not up until May 2025.
Unless he steps down from either elected role, it is unlikely he could be removed from these positions through any other situation than an election.
However, Cllr Zadrozny has revealed he does not yet know whether he would allow the disgraced councillor to represent the Ashfield Independents at an election.
When asked if he’d allow Cllr Hollis to stand as an Ashfield Independent candidate next May, he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I don’t know.
“We’ve got to wait for sentencing. Whether to keep Tom on is also bigger than just me. As much as people like to think I’m the body and soul, the Ashfield Independents are a bigger party than me.
“We’ve got 800 or so members, it’s a decision that will be weighed up after sentencing and whether Tom still wants to do that.
“He’s been found guilty, he’s obviously going to serve his punishment and he’s lost the deputy leadership. He’s lost money and a position of authority, and I always think people should have a chance for rehabilitation.
“The decision on whether he gets to continue in his position is down to him or his residents.”
In dismissing Cllr Hollis from his Ashfield Council roles, Cllr Zadrozny added: “His position as deputy leader is no longer tenable and is a distraction from the incredibly positive work Ashfield is doing.”