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Scarborough Conservative Councillor Quits Party

Scarborough Conservative Councillor Quits Party

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Carl Gavaghan at 12:29pm 28th November 2019. (Updated at 2:09pm 28th November 2019)

A Conservative councillor has confirmed he has left the party, after he wasn’t chosen to fight for his seat in the 2021 North Yorkshire County Council elections.

Cllr Andrew Backhouse, who also sits on Scarborough Borough Council, says he made the decision to become an independent after “very careful consideration”.

Cllr Backhouse has joined the Independent groups on both authorities.

He was one of three Scarborough-based Conservative councillors, along with Andrew Jenkinson and David Jeffels, who were not successful in being selected by the party to fight for their current seat in the county elections in 18 months’ time.

Following an unsuccessful appeal, Cllr Backhouse has now left the party.

Cllr Backhouse said:

“I am as of now an independent, and I have joined the Independent groups on both councils.

While I have been a Conservative councillor for 16 years I have always had some independent in me, which has got me into trouble on a couple of occasions.

At the end of the day I have reluctantly and after very careful consideration decided to leave the party.

Genuinely speaking I’m a loyal soldier but I am certainly not part of their future and, ultimately, if I wish to maintain my presence in local politics to the best of my ability and do what I’ve always done then I have to make tough choices.”

Cllr Backhouse said voters had reached out to him following news of his snub, he also said things within the party had changed since he first became a councillor in 2003.

He added:

“The party now in 2019 is a lot different to what it was when I joined.

It’s a sad day for me personally, but I’ve always believed that as one door closes another one opens.

I have had some emails and calls from people and one of those just said ‘what the hell are they playing at? You’ve been a good councillor, they are destroying the local party’.

I will still retain my core values and try to do my best but it will not be with the local Conservative Party.”

The Conservatives will remain the single largest party on Scarborough Borough Council despite the departure of Cllr Backhouse as it leaves them with 15 out of 46 seats.  The Independent Group gains its 11th councillor, putting it two behind the ruling Labour Party, which it supports in leading the authority.

Chairman of the Scarborough and Whitby Conservative Association, Cllr David Chance, said:

Cllr Backhouse lodged an appeal against the decision of the Approvals Panel not to approve him as a potential candidate to go forward for selection as a Conservative candidate in the county council elections in 2021.

The full Executive of the Constituency party heard the appeal and upheld the decision of the Appeals Panel.

No members of the original Approvals Panel were involved in the Executive Council’s decision. Cllr Backhouse had the option to appeal to the Area Executive North and East Yorkshire but chose not to do so.

We naturally thank Cllr Backhouse for his service and wish him well.”

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