‘I supported him to become mayor - quite frankly I wish I had never done so’ says fellow ward councillor after Tory defects to independent group
PUBLISHED: 11:13 08 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:16 08 June 2020
His fellow ward councillor has accused former mayor Michael Hill – who quit the Conservatives to become an independent – of “making false claims” and having a “personal gripe”.
Cllr Steve Tierney also lambasted Cllr Hill for ruining the night for incoming mayor Cllr Aigars Balsevics at Wisbech Town Council’s annual meeting.
“I campaigned for Michael Hill to be elected on several occasions (often when he did little or no campaigning himself) and I supported him in various roles and to become mayor,” wrote Cllr Tierney. “I wish I had never done so.”
The angry outburst is contained in a Tory newsletter delivered to parts of Wisbech by Cllr Tierney.
The outburst followed the decision by Cllr Hill to quit the Conservative group on Wisbech town council, announcing the decision moments after completing his year of office as mayor.
Cllr Hill declared: “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”.
In his newsletter Cllr Tierney writes: “I’m not very disappointed about losing somebody to help with the work because quite frankly I’ve never really had any help from him,
“There are occasions where I wished I had a fellow ward councillor who would pitch in rather than let me do pretty much everything.
“But I supported him and voted for him to be mayor a second time because he seemed a nice man and I believed he would do his best in the role.”
Cllr Tierney denied councillors were ever told how to vote but in the case of Cllr Hill “I don’t recall him ever speaking up in a meeting to say he wanted to do anything different.”
“I don’t believe these are really his words I think they were written for him, which would be kind of ironic.”
Cllr Tierney believes the reason behind Cllr Hill quitting is that “a couple of weeks ago it became clear that Cllr Hill did not want to stop being the mayor, at the end of his mayoral term. He expressed a wish to continue for an additional six months.
“At that point there was no sign of him ‘being unhappy with the town council leadership’ or wanting to become an ‘independent’
“But the civic rules simply don’t allow for mayors to extend their term just because they don’t want to give up their role. “Michael Hill was politely told that he was being unreasonable.
“Then at the next meeting he makes these false claims and throws his toys out of the pram.”
Cllr Tierney says that Cllr Hill makes the point that he has been a councillor for 17 years.
“Yes, he has,” wrote Cllr Tierney. “I’ve served alongside him for many of those years. It is a real shame that he has chosen to end his time as a Conservative councillor in such a disgraceful way.
“It was particularly sad as the mayor making ceremony is part of our town’s traditions. “
Cllr Tierney said the new mayor Cllr Balsevics was “graceful” about the meeting “and that was nice. But what a shocking way to ruin his day.
“If somebody had done the same to Michael Hill he would have been rightly furious
“To take an important and historic ceremony and to make it all about you and your personal gripe.
“I guess life you live and learn; people who seem honourable and decent can turn out to be no such thing.”
Cllr Tierney added: “Michael will get his moment in the spotlight while the local newspaper editor and the opposition use him in order to try and spin their lies.
“But they will forget him as quickly as they pretended to support him. as the old saying goes you make your bed then you have to lay in it.”
Cllr Hill, summing up his year as mayor, had his own rebuke for colleagues after telling of his 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”.
Ahead of the 2019 local elections Cllr Tierney said of Cllr Hill “I know he is going to be a great mayor – again!”.
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