A city councillor has resigned from the Conservative party over what he says are the “sad and pathetic” actions of fellow Tory members.
Coun Brett Cooper is now a non-aligned Independent councillor for Bare ward, after he announced his resignation from the national Conservative party, the Morecambe and Lunesdale Association and the Lancaster City Council Tory group.
He said this was following the distribution of a leaflet by Conservative councillors which is believed to refer to Coun Darren Clifford and an ongoing investigation into the unlawful leaking of a relationship the Labour councillor had with a member of city council staff.
Coun Cooper said the leaflet was not approved or condoned by himand he was not willing to share a platform with the individuals involved.
He told a full council meeting on Wednesday evening that “the only obvious purpose” of the leaflets was to personally attack another councillor for political gain.
He said: “I think it is actually quite sad and pathetic that some individuals found these leaflets newsworthy in the first instance, and it is disgraceful that they have attempted to use it in such way.
“I am prepared to make that stand to demonstrate to the chamber that this is not condoned by people like me.”
Coun Cooper said he now felt “incredibly liberated” as an independent councillor.
He said: “There may be some prepared to criticise my decision and argue I should resign as a councillor and trigger a by-election and if I was only 12 months in a four year term I would agree and I would do so, but to put the council through the expense of another by election for the sake of seven months just seems a waste of time and money.
“The people of Bare will be able to have their say in May.”
“So I sit here now with my fellow non-aligned independent councillors, feeling incredibly liberated. The shackles are off!
“I hope to be back here in May to take part in some of the most important decisions to affect this district in a long time, and I hope that those decisions can be made to the best of this chambers ability, focusing on the issues at hand and the resources the council has.”