Borough councillors wrangle in run-up to elections

PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 April 2016

John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council

John Dean, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Council

Archant

A Labour borough councillor has slammed the Conservative’s “14 years of failure” ahead of the upcoming borough council election.

Opposition leader Kieran Thorpe said the Tories are “in tatters” in the run-up to the vote on Thursday, May 5, and pointed to three of their councillors recently becoming independents, as well as deputy leader Alan Franey deciding not to stand for re-election.

Former Conservative councillors Sandra Kyriakides and Caron Juggins both declared themselves independents in recent months, and Howlands councillor Stan Tunstall was last month suspended from the party and is now serving as an independent.

“After 14 years of failure the Conservative group has run out of steam, and are now turning on each other,” Cllr Thorpe said. 
However, council leader John Dean labelled cllr Thorpe’s assessment of the Tory tenure as “complete nonsense”, and said “in actual fact we have had 14 years of ever-growing success”.

He also said in the cases of cllr Kyriakides and cllr Juggins, both had not been reselected for the election because “we didn’t consider them to be loyal Conservatives”, and that is what prompted their move to become independent.

However, Hatfield West councillor Caron Juggins said she was already considering her Tory membership before being deslected, citing “doubts about the Conservative Party locally” and their “stick in the mud” approach to evolving issues.

Welwyn West representative Sandra Kyriakides, who was an independent councillor since 2012 before changing last year, said she was in “constant battle” after switching allegiance, adding she knew within weeks she made a mistake.

She said: “I thought I would stay the year and then go back to being independent but then in a way it [being deselected] made my mind up.”


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