May 5, 2023 6.52 am This story is over 10 months old

Boston leader sacked off by voters as Independents sweep district

Mother of girl stabbed to death in Boston last year among those elected

Independent councillors have swept to power for the first time since 2011 in a night which saw the leader toppled and the mother of a nine-year-old murder victim elected.

The Boston Independent Group, which was only set up in the past few months in a co-ordinated bid to get independent councillors into power, took 19 seats, leaving the Conservatives with just five positions, down from their original 14.

Elsewhere, other Independents took five seats, the Blue Revolution Party took one and the Liberal Democrats have one.

Conservative leader Paul Skinner was one of several council bosses across the county to lose their seat, with others including South Holland’s Gary Porter and South Kesteven’s Kelham Cooke.

In his Fishtoft ward, all three Conservative party councillors were booted out by the electorate, with the leader himself taking 397 votes, fewer than his wife Judith at 453. His opponents David Scoot, Sarah Sharpe and Helen Staples of the Boston Independent party won with 800, 900 and 952 votes respectively.

He told BBC Radio Lincolnshire his party had “worked hard” to bring funding to the area and build relationships with government.

However, he lashed out at the previous administration’s “indecision” in attracting funding, and at media coverage over the town’s lack of Christmas lights – blaming again previous administrations.

Asked why the Independents had done so well, he said: “They must have run a very good campaign on one leaflet where we put four out.

“Good luck to them. It’s all right getting in, but you have to deliver.

“I, over the last three and a half years, have taken this community through a major pandemic, I’ve made sure that the government resources have got to where they need to be. Personally I’ve helped out as a volunteer in quite a few places and I can’t do any more than that.”

Boston Borough Council leader Paul Skinner lost his ward and his seat at the top of the table. | Image: BBC

Elsewhere, the mother of nine-year-old Lilija Valutyte, who was stabbed to death in a Boston street, was successful in her bid for office.

Lina Savickiene took 98 votes in the Station ward, just a handful ahead of Gavin Lee for Blue Revolution with 89 and Adriaan Vickery for the Conservative Party with 75.

Lina Savicke and her husband at a recent public meeting. | Image: Daniel Jaines

She has recently been calling for Boston’s community to come together following her daughter’s tragic death.

Station ward covers River Witham up to Bartol Crescent and includes the police station, Tesco superstore and Carlton Road Academy as well as the area around Boston Borough Council’s headquarters.

Lilia was found with a stab wound to her chest in Fountain Lane, Boston, Lincolnshire, on 28 July last year.

Lithuanian national Deividas Skebas, 22, was charged with her murder and his case was due before Lincoln Crown Court on April 17 but was ruled unfit to stand trial for her killing. Instead he will face a two day trial of facts on July 10.

The district authority has a history of no overall control and was once led by an Independent group, though has been Conservative since 2015, so it could go either way.

Catch up with all our elections coverage overnight on the My Local Lincolnshire website here.