July 27, 2020 4.02 pm This story is over 40 months old

Boston councillor quits – but not until COVID allows an election

Martin Howard will no longer looking after the council’s finances

A Boston finance councillor has announced his intention to step down from politics – but will carry on until an election can be held.

In a letter to his fellow councillors, seen by the Local Democracy Service, Councillor Martin Howard, who was finance portfolio holder, said he had been “thrown in at the deep end” when he was elected seven months ago.

Referring to the change of leadership to Councillor Paul Skinner in January, the “unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic” and the “alliance issue”, he said: “This has been an enormous baptism of fire to say the least and one that has caused many sleepless nights.

“This being said I have come to realise politics is not for me.

“Having just come back from Lithuania yesterday and I am going back in a few days to help again with a family crisis I have been met with a barrage of issues.

“Therefore, I have decided I no longer wish to be involved in this political arena.”

Due to coronavirus pandemic, a by-election cannot be held until next May, so Mr Howard said he would continue to be a councillor “for the foreseeable future” – however, he did not reveal if this would be as independent or Conservative.

He added he would be donating his allowance to a local charity.

Councillor Howard then went on to say he believed any challenges to the current administration would “not be good for the people of Boston” adding there was a need for stability.

However, he added: “A leader should gel the team of which Councillor Skinner has done this for the conservatives but in politics it is extremely difficult to gel the opposition as well.”

“There is in my opinion far too much politics involved here and this has frustrated me immensely, we should be there to serve the people who elected us and not for political gain.”

Boston Borough Council leader Councillor Paul Skinner. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Councillor Skinner acknowledged Councillor Howard was “dealing with a very stressful, difficult personal and family situation.”

“Being a councillor and the politics involved is making his situation much worse, which has contributed to his decision,” he said.

“Not having a portfolio responsibility will allow him the time and space to focus on himself and his family for the time being. “

He thanked his colleague “for his hard work, time and commitment to the Portfolio Holder role during what has been a very challenging time for the council and borough as a whole.”

“Until an appointment is made to the Portfolio for Finance role, as Leader of the Council I will take over responsibility for the Finance and Governance Portfolio,” he said.

It is understood opposition members may call for a meeting to challenge the leadership of the authority, but no such meetings are currently scheduled in the calendar.