Stratford district councillors switch sides

By IH Monday 11 February 2013 Updated: 14/02 12:55

TWO disillusioned Conservative councillors on Stratford District Council this week joined the Independent group in a shock switch.

Coun Helen Hayter, who represents Snitterfield, and Coun Dave Wise, who represents Southam, both say they have become disillusioned with politics in local government and in particular, the requirement to tow and support the party line irrespective of their individual views or community needs.

Coun Roger Wright, Leader of the Independent Group said: ''I welcome Dave and Helen joining the Independent group and I am not surprised by their actions considering this is now happening country-wide as the wave of change away from the three main political parties is taking place. Like the electorate, many elected members are beginning to recognise the short comings of 'ping pong' politics between the three main parties and the effect it has on their role as local councillors.

"We see this as a vanguard to a larger group of Independent Councillors on Stratford District Council, and will be working to increase our group numbers in the forthcoming District Council elections.

''I am also pleased to welcome Sue Main who has agreed to be Agent and secretary to the Independent group."

Chris Saint, leader of the ruling Tory administration, said he was "hugely disappointed" by the resignations.

He told The Observer: "This announcement has come out of the blue. Their letters were factual and to the point and they did not provide me with any reasons for their decision. I am disappointed that these Councillors could not talk to me beforehand.

"They were elected as Conservatives and many will be disappointed that they have chosen to distance themselves from their Conservative colleagues. Under my leadership, the local Conservative Group has provided them with every opportunity to to debate issues and contribute to good decision making. They have moved to a position where they have less influence on council strategy."

The political make-up of the council now leaves the ruling Conservatives with 30 seats, the Lib Dems with 16, Independents with four, and Stratford First Independent with two.

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