June 7, 2019 1.23 pm This story is over 29 months old

Local Democracy Weekly: First Tory councillor goes independent over party gripes

Those who switch come under serious scrutiny

Lincolnshire saw its first post EU election casualty this week as senior Conservative Robert Foulkes stepped down from the party.

Lincolnshire county councillor Foulkes, who represents Stamford and headed the Stamford Yelland Branch of the Conservative Association, revealed this week he was going independent, saying the Tory leadership at Westminster had betrayed Brexit.

Despite not going so far as to become the first Brexit Party councillor on the authority, Councillor Foulkes did throw his weight behind Farage’s new project.

Switching party, or allying with a specific group, can be a dangerous move for councillors often sparking calls for a by-election.

Unlike chief executives, the pay-off currency is in the form of trust.

It certainly seems easier for councillors who are leaving a party to go independent.

Those independents who find themselves sitting at the party table, however, often come under heavier scrutiny as people assume they are “party A in disguise”.

For Councillor Foulkes, it seems to have gone fairly smoothly, with other senior councillors, including Lincolnshire’s Conservative leader Martin Hill expressing sympathy and understanding of the decision, though disappointed by the loss

Others, however, aren’t so lucky and we’ve recently seen councillors under fire for their choice of allegiance in both Boston and North Kesteven.

It’s obviously not an easy choice to make, nor is it one to take lightly as voters will remember.

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