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A TORY candidate was last night facing possible disciplinary action – for criticising austerity cuts made by his own party.

After losing his Abingdon North seat on Oxfordshire County Council to the Liberal Democrats, Sandy Lovatt yesterday blamed his defeat on the ‘brunt of cuts’ the authority had been handed since 2013 by the Government.

AS IT HAPPENED: Election results i

But there were suggestions he faced suspension – or even expulsion – according to multiple party sources yesterday.

One told the Oxford Mail: “We have been advised that he broke party rules. No procedures have started yet – but there is going to be a judgement. It seems over the top.”

Another added: “We were all warned about criticising government cuts.

“If this kind of thing happens it was always going to be passed up.”

Speaking after his loss was announced, Mr Lovatt said in a video interview: “I lost because, on the whole, this county council has had to take the brunt of the cuts imposed upon the council budget by this government.

“And the Liberal Democrats have made the most of that.

“They will now have to find a way of coping with it.”

He was later contacted by the Oxford Mail but said he was unaware of any disciplinary action against him.

Mr Lovatt, who is also a district councillor for the Conservatives, added: “It was a perfectly straightforward statement. I think it’s nonsense. I don’t understand.”

County council Conservative group leader Ian Hudspeth denied knowing about any moves to discipline Mr Lovatt.

He said: “There are rumours flying around.

“We will have to wait and see if there is an official notification.”

Alex Shayler, the Conservative election agent for Oxfordshire, would not say whether Mr Lovatt faced action in the future.

But he said: “I have not heard his comments.

“Nothing formal has happened and no procedures have been started.”

According to the Conservative Party constitution, its board has the power to suspend or expel members ‘whose conduct is in conflict with the purpose, objects and values of the party, or likely to bring an association or the party into disrepute.”