THE political fate of disgraced councillor Hugh Pritchard looks set to be sealed by a local government watchdog that has the power to strike him off.

A letter is being circulated among Fareham's councillors reporting Cllr Pritchard's fraud conviction to The Standards Board for England.

If the board's investigators find the Lib Dem for Fareham South has brought the council into disrepute, an independent adjudication panel has the power to disqualify him from office for five years.

In a separate move the council's executive leader councillor Sean Woodward has called an extraordinary council meeting after Cllr Pritchard refused to resign from any of his positions on council committees and outside bodies.

However in a letter to the council leader a defiant Cllr Pritchard, pictured, said he had no intention of resigning.

"The fines having now been settled, our usual standards of British justice mean that the debt to society has now been paid and the slate is clean."

The extraordinary council meeting on November 5 will see Lib Dem leader Councillor Roger Price propose alternative members for Cllr Pritchard's posts.

At present the 67-year-old is a member of the council's planning development control committee, the housing overview panel and a deputy member of the policy, strategy and finance overview panel.

He was also appointed by Fareham council to serve on Southampton and Fareham's Chamber of Commerce consultation group, Fareham's homelessness working party, Neville Lovett Community School's management committee and the board of governors at Castle Primary School in Portchester.

Pritchard was fined £300 by Fareham magistrates on October 15 after falsely claiming £1,251.65 in council and housing tax benefits.

On two occasions he filled in a benefit form each time claiming his only income derived from council duties and his state pension when he was in receipt of two other pensions.

Cllr Pritchard, who has paid all the money back, said his failure to disclose his true income was a matter of carelessness and not deceit.

Next week's extraordinary meeting comes after Cllr Pritchard was last week thrown out of the Lib Dem group following a unanimous vote by party colleagues. But he continues to be a member of the Lib Dem party and serve as a councillor with an annual allowance of £4,680.

Cllr Woodward said: "We must be seen to be regulating ourselves before we regulate anything else.

"It has without any shadow of a doubt brought Fareham Borough Council into disrepute. It reflects badly on all of us."