Labour slams Bury's Tory membership changes

This Is Lancashire: Bury Town Hall Bury Town Hall

Labour’s council leader has declared recent changes to the membership of Bury’s Conservative Party as a ‘Tory hokey cokey’, after a councillor became independent.

Cllr Michelle Wiseman, who represents Pilkington Park ward, announced she was leaving the party last month, saying she disagreed with decisions by the Tory leadership.

Cllr Wiseman was first elected in 2003, and was also the Tory group’s deputy leader last year.

It is not the first time that a Conservative councillor has left the party, after Ramsbottom Cllr Ian Bevan became an independent in February after a row over the party leadership, only to return later in the year.

Cllr Wiseman did not attend the last full meeting of Bury Council on December 11, but responding to a public question, Labour council leader Cllr Mike Connolly said: “It has been interesting over recent weeks and months to see what is going on.

"Cllr Bevan is in and then he is out, then he is back in again, and now Cllr Wiseman.

"She was a parliamentary candidate and the deputy leader of this council, and now she is out, it is a bit like the Tory hokey cokey.

"Some comfort for the Conservative leader is that, of yet, no one has defected to UKIP.”

Cllr Wiseman’s seat will be contested in May 2016, and she says she will not contest it, but will support the Conservative candidate.

In a previous statement, Cllr Wiseman said it was a difficult decision to leave the party, but that it would allow her to serve residents without being constrained.


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