‘I will not be told what to do and how to vote’ says outgoing Wisbech mayor as he quits Conservative group to become an independent
PUBLISHED: 22:04 18 May 2020 | UPDATED: 22:18 18 May 2020
The outgoing mayor of Wisbech dropped a bombshell tonight (Monday) when he quit the ruling Tory group after accusing fellow councillors of trying to tell him what to do.
Cllr Michael Hill paused briefly before his shock announcement that was made via a streamed annual meeting of the council on YouTube.
He said: “I have not been very happy with the way some councillors are trying to run the council their way.
“I am not a ‘yes man’ but a man with my own mind and I will not be told what to do and how to vote.”
He added: “Having been on the council for 17 years it is with great sadness I am having to walk over to the other side of the chamber as an independent Conservative”.
Cllr Hill, summing up his year, also had a rebuke for colleagues after summing up the 114 civic visits – and 3,460 miles he had covered – representing the town as mayor.
He said there was “good support” from other town mayors at his annual Christmas carol service “but not a lot of support from other Wisbech town councillors”.
However, he singled out for special praise Cllr Dave Topgood who had accompanied him on Christmas Day visits and for helping him to get to places after he broke his hip at last year’s Rose after who falling down stairs at the council chamber.
Independent town councillor Dave Patrick said after the meeting: “I just hope there were not too many people watching the meeting – they would have been shocked how badly it was run.”
Cllr Patrick said he was “not that surprised” Cllr Hills had quit the Tory group.
“Let’s say we welcome him to sit with us in the ‘lepers’ corner’ now he’s crossed the floor.”
Like Cllr Philip Wing, who was expelled from the North East Cambridgeshire Conservative Association last year, Cllr Hill can remain a member of the Conservative Party.
But, like Cllr Wing, there will probably be an inquiry and he will not be allowed to stand for re-election as a Tory candidate.
Cllr Aigars Balsevics, a local publican, was elected mayor and Cllr Andrew Lynn his deputy.
In a pre-prepared statement after being elected, Cllr Balsevics said: “My fellow councillors and staff at Wisbech Town Council would like to express our immense sadness at the deaths of people from Covid-19, coupled with heartfelt condolences to the bereaved.
“Our thoughts are with those who are laid low by the virus and we would like to send thanks to all those involved in their treatment, in work that keeps our country going and those who are undertaking research to find a cure and inoculations.”
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