TORIES in Pendle look set to drop plans to appoint a man - accused of explosives charges - as their nomination for a school governorship.

Conservatives leaders admit they have blundered in putting forward the name of Peter Hill as their candidate to be a governor at Primet High in Colne.

Hill is currently awaiting a Leeds Crown Court hearing after being charged with offences under the Explosive Substances Act.

Liberal Democrats have seized upon the Tories decision over Hill, who also stood as an unsuccessful borough council candidate for the Conservatives in Colne's Waterside ward last year.

Lord Greaves, who represents Waterside ward, said: "What on earth is going on?

"All the political parties on the county council make appointments of school governors via their political groups and we all have a duty to check that people we nominate are suitable people at the time of their appointment.

"The involvement of Peter Hill with the police and courts is hardly a secret.

"The school is in Waterside Ward which I represent and I question whether this is a suitable appointment at this time."

It is understood that Hill has not attended any school governors' meetings to date and there is not such a meeting scheduled until March.

Party agents have confirmed that Hill, whose family live in Keighley Road, Colne but now resides in Skipton, was one of their candidates to be a school governor.

Pendle Tory spokesman George Askew said of Hill's nomination: "This was more than four months prior to any police investigation."

County councillor Shelagh Derwent, who signed Hill's nomination, said: "I admit I made a mistake in siging the nomination. I would never have done so if I had realised the implications."

Hill, a former soldier, had previously been a school governor at Park Primary and was a prefect at Park High, and active in a number of local groups including Skipton to Colne rail campaigners SELRAP.

Conservatives have taken advice from County Hall solicitors about the validity of their nomination and are not expected to proceed with it.

Coun Derwent blamed personal pressures for her oversight when she signed the nomination last Christmas.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: "There are statutory regulations concerning the appointment of school governors.

"Disqualification from being a governor usually follows from conviction for certain criminal offences.

"We would have to consider each individual case on its own merits however."

Hill was cleared of spying charges - it was claimed he had been passing secrets to the Russians after an MI5 probe - but these were dropped recently by Scotland Yard.

He is due back in court at Leeds on February 25.