EXCLUSIVE: Resignation of East Cambs councillor from Conservative Party could affect Tory position on county council

16:13 27 March 2014

Phil Read

Phil Read

Archant

A Conservative councillor on East Cambs District Council has resigned from the party citing “an accumulation of disquiet and conflict” brought to a head by the group’s selection process for the forthcoming Sutton by-election.

A Conservative councillor on East Cambs District Council has resigned from the party citing “an accumulation of disquiet and conflict” brought to a head by the group’s selection process for the forthcoming Sutton by-election.

Cllr Phil Read, also of Sutton, said that a number of issues that had built up in recent months had persuaded him to resign from the Conservative group and become an independent councillor.

His shock resignation could also have implications at Shire Hall, Cambridge, where he is likely to lose the Conservative whip. His decision could influence the political make up of the county once it moves to a committee system next month.

The decision by Cllr Read comes just a few weeks after the former leader of the Conservative group on east Cambs Council, Peter Moakes, resigned over what he called “disquiet” surrounding proposals to reorganise the authority.

Cllr Read, who has been a member of East Cambridgeshire District Council on and off since 1973, said: “I’m very upset with what is going on at East Cambs because I don’t like all this business about making people redundant.

“I think it could have been avoided if we had raised rates a little bit and charged for parking. I think it also could have been avoided if we had done things along the lines that I’m told Gareth Wilson suggested at full council, although I wasn’t there.”

The resignation of Peter Moakes has sparked a by-election for the second seat in Sutton on April 24 and Cllr Read said that the process to select a Conservative candidate to fight the election had also been a source of concern.

He said: “I was very upset with the selection process – as I was last time around - so I decided to resign from the group. I have been an independent candidate before and I have no worries about doing it again.

“I have already been asked to join the independent group and I shall have to have a think about it.”

Cllr Read said he was also upset about national party issues including the so-called bedroom tax and the HS2 high speed rail project.

He added: “A lot of the older Conservative councillors who have been on the council for a long time have had to go through this new system where you have to go before a selection panel before you can stand.

“It is something that has been introduced by the party central office and I don’t agree with it.”

Cllr Read said he would probably have to resign from the Conservative group at Cambridgeshire County Council, where he has been a councillor on and off since 1975.

5 comments

  • @DiscoStu:ha ha. I thought it was Uncle Albert from OF&H: "During the war........"

    Report this comment

    Edward Millionaireband

    Friday, March 28, 2014

  • I totally disagree with him about parking charges - that alone is the main cause of the death of many a high street, but totally agree with him about HS2 - the biggest white elephant ever proposed by any government... a £50 BILLION folly! Fair play to Mr Read for resigning from the party though.

    Report this comment

    Norfolk and Good

    Friday, March 28, 2014

  • Surely someone realises there is a problem to have caused two resignations in such a short space, I have known councillor Philip Read all my life and know that any of his intentions have only ever been for the good, all it takes is too listen to the ones that have their constituency at heart instead of trying to find ludicrous ways eg.. Bedroom tax etc... to make money at the expense of people that are already struggling to live...... How many more good people have to resign before someone has the courage to stand up for them...

    Report this comment

    julie5457

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

  • I always wondered what happened to Captain Birdseye!

    Report this comment

    DiscoStu

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

  • I haven't always agreed with Philip ('Pip') Read (and I certainly don't agree with him regarding parking charges) but I have known him for very many years and I am sure that he hasn't taken this decision lightly. His resignation is yet another serious blow to the Conservative Party and yet another gain for those who prefer to think and act independently.

    Report this comment

    Geoffrey Woollard

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The Larkfields Centre, High Barns, Ely.

A community group was forced to cancel its Christmas party at the last minute after discovering it had been locked out of its venue.

The annual Soham Village College Christmas carol service

The pupils of Soham Village College put on another show-stopping performance at Ely Cathedral, on Thursday night.

Presents have been hidden in locations around Ely.

Crafters in Ely have been spreading Christmas cheer by planting gifts for strangers to discover by local landmarks.

Cllr James Palmer

A life-line has been offered to the closure-threatened Ely and Soham Dial-a-Ride by the leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

Most read stories

E-edition