Former Tory councillor Mick Ford has quit the Conservative group on Northampton Borough Council to join the Liberal Democrats – over his former party’s choice of candidate for the Delapre area.
Councillor Ford, who sits on the general purposes and planning committees, will retain his seat on the Delapre & Briar Hill ward under his new allegiance.
Today, he wrote in a resignation letter that he cited the fact the Tory group choosing former Friends of Delapre Abbey chairman Graham Walker to stand alongside him for one of the Delapre and Briar Hill seats in the next borough elections.
He said he had on-going issues with Mr Walker and said he “will not stand on a platform” with him during the elections in May, 2015.
Councillor Ford said: “I have enjoyed my time as a councillor and I would have liked to have stood again and be able to help the residents of the ward.
“I hope the Conservatives turn the borough blue again in 2015, but I hope the people of Delapre will forgive me if I say that I hope that this ward is red, yellow or green but not blue.”
Leader of the Lib Dems at the borough council, Councillor Sally Beardsworth, said: “We are delighted to give a home to Councillor Ford – and we look forward with working with him for the next few months and after the elections in May.
“Mick is a well known community campaigner, activist and volunteer, who is defecting as a matter of principle in defence of his ward.
“While we don’t expect to see eye-to-eye on every issue going forward, we will work together to ensure the best for the people of Northampton, and particularly Delapre.”
Councillor Brendan Glynane, (Lib Dem, Delpapre and Briar Hill) added: “I’m really pleased Mick isn’t standing by and letting the Conservatives run rough shod over the wishes of local people regarding the future of Delapre Abbey.
“We will work together for the next few months to make sure Delapre has a united and effective voice of opposition to this administration.”
Leader of the Conservatives at Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh, said: “I am pleased that Councillor Ford recognises the work done by the Conservatives and wants to see a Conservative council returned in May.
“It is sad that personal issues have got in the way, and I wish him well in his retirement.”