Tories in turmoil after fifth councillor quits

Another Ribble Valley councillor has quit the Conservative group, in the latest of a string of similar resignations.

Monday, 23rd July 2018, 4:03 pm
Updated Monday, 23rd July 2018, 4:07 pm
Ruth Hargreaves is the latest Tory councillor to quit

Ruth Hargreaves, who represents the St Mary’s Ward in Clitheroe, said she could no longer support the leader of Ribble Valley Borough Council, Coun. Kind Hind. She has now joined the newly-formed Democratic Conservative Group.

Coun. Hargreaves’ shock resignation is the latest in a number of walkouts from the ruling borough council Tory group in recent weeks - and the fifth in less than a month.

As reported in the Clitheroe Advertiser last week, community stalwart and well-respected, long-serving Whalley councillor, Joyce Holgate MBE, quit the group admitting she is unhappy with the “style of leadership” at the council.

The 87-year-old, who has been a lifelong Tory supporter, joined 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) who handed in their resignations earlier this month and created their on political grouping on the council.

In the latest blow to the Conservatives, Coun. Hargreaves stated in her resignation letter: “With regret, I am resigning from the Conservative Group on Ribble Valley Borough Council with immediate effect and will be working with the Democratic Conservative Group.

“I am very unhappy with your style of leadership. I have been particularly disappointed with your stance on the market claiming that the design cannot be shared because it is ‘commercially sensitive’. At Full Council recently a vote was carried to allow the plans presented to go forward in principle, but it seems that you are proposing major changes and indicating that this is not the final decision. Lib Dem Coun. Allan Knox asked for a vote for the plans to be revisited and this was denied.”

She added: “I have always stood for the good of the community which I serve and am passionate that the market development process should progress in a transparent way and be in the best interests of the town and borough. I am not sure that your current actions will benefit the community and think that the secrecy may alienate the electorate. I also read what Coun. Holgate wrote in her letter to you and I share her views. She wouldn’t have taken this decision without serious consideration.”