A senior Hertfordshire politician has defended his decision to stand for election for a third local government position in the City of London Corporation this week.

Councillor Chris Hayward, Conservative group leader in Three Rivers and deputy leader of Hertfordshire County Council, is standing for a common councilman seat in Thursday’s election (March 21).

The Chorleywood resident is eligible to stand in the square mile as he also owns a £1 million flat overlooking the Bank of England.

However, he stressed the role is unpaid and would involve no more than "one lunch time meeting a month".

He said: "It is not exactly a major time commitment. If it was anything more than one meeting then I wouldn’t do it.

"The councillors in the City of London also receive no allowances whatsoever.

"This isn’t a David Lloyd scenario, there is no income for common councilmen, it is more of an honorary body."

"The City of London is very, very different to the district council or the county council, it is unique in that it only covers the square mile and everyone stands as an independent, there is no party politics."

Councillor Hayward took over as the county’s deputy leader in November following the resignation of David Lloyd to become Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

Mr Lloyd initially came in for criticism for continuing as a county councillor and Dacorum Borough Councillor alongside the police role but announced he would quit the district role earlier this month.

Councillor Hayward stressed that he remains fully committed to his position as deputy leader and will stand for re-election in May’s county council elections.

He said: "I am basically working full-time as deputy leader at Hertfordshire County Council and my commitment is to the county. I will keep my membership of the district council under view.

"But I do not view this as an alternative to my role at the county or the district."

However the move has been condemned by political opponents including Stephen Giles-Medhurst who is a councillor in Three Rivers and leader of the Hertfordshire Liberal Democrats.

He said: "It is amazing and a bit puzzling how he thinks he can do all these things at the same time.

"If he wanted to stand in another area of Herts, I wouldn’t have any qualms about it but some 20 miles away in the City of London is puzzling to say the least.

"He has a full-time role at county hall and that is a huge responsibility for him, you have to wonder what he wants to do with that.

"I thought his heart was in Herts but this must call that into question."