Fourth Tory councillor quits party group

Much-loved and respected Tory councillor Joyce Holgate
Much-loved and respected Tory councillor Joyce Holgate

A community stalwart, who has been a Conservative councillor for the past 25 years, has resigned from Ribble Valley Borough Council’s Tory group.

A lifelong Tory supporter, Coun. Joyce Holgate MBE, affectionately known as the "Countess of Whalley", has now joined the new Democratic Conservatives.

As reported in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times earlier this month, the council's ex-deputy leaders councillors Terry Hill (Whalley), Paul Elms (Waddington) and chairman of the Ribble Valley Community Safety Partnership Coun. Robert Thompson (Wiswell and Pendleton) quit and created their on political grouping on the council.

Coun. Holgate (87), is one of the council's longest-serving councillors and has been the borough Mayor twice. She received an MBE for services to local government in the 2012 Queen’s birthday honour's list.

In her resignation letter to the leader of the borough council, Coun. Ken Hind, the Whalley councillor- stated: "After a great deal of thought I am resigning from the Conservative Group on Ribble Valley Borough Council with immediate effect. Whilst I consider myself to be a Conservative, and indeed I am not resigning from the Conservative Party of which I have been a proud member for most of my life, I will be joining the New Democratic Conservative grouping who I consider to be honest and straightforward people. If you try to remove me as a Conservative member, I will resist it. Coun. Hill and I will continue to work for the benefit of the residents of Whalley who overwhelmingly voted for us. I cannot support your style of leadership."