Bury councillor quits Conservative party

A LONG-SERVING Conservative councillor has resigned from her party and become an independent.

Cllr Michelle Wiseman, who represents Pilkington Park ward, was first elected in 2003 and has decided to sever ties with the Tories, having been the Bury group’s deputy leader last year.

Her seat will come up for grabs in May, 2016, when Cllr Wiseman says she will not contest it, but would support the Conservative candidate.

Cllr Wiseman said she had disagreed with “recent decisions relating to policy and personnel” within the Bury Tory Group, but had been obliged to back the decisions.

Cllr Wiseman told the council’s chief executive Mike Kelly her decision on Monday before breaking the news to Old Hall Residents Association the same evening.

In a statement, she said: “It has been a difficult decision for me to leave the Conservative Party but I feel that I have no choice following some of the actions that have recently been taken by the Conservative group on Bury Council.

“By becoming an independent councillor, I will be able to carry on with the extensive work on behalf of the residents of Pilkington Park without the constraints of a group whip..”

A party source said that, while it was always a blow to lose a councillor, there would be no hard feelings. In February, another Conservative, Cllr Ian Bevan, became an independent representative in a row over leadership of the group. He returned to the group later on in the year.

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