Scarborough Borough Council elections: Tory leader blasts Theresa May and Brexit stance
Scarborough Council has been left in no overall control following today’s local election results.
And, after the Conservatives lost their majority, leader of the council Cllr Derek Bastiman laid the blame for the party’s collapse at the door of Prime Minister Theresa May.
He said: “We lost the majority but it’s what I expected to be honest because Westminster and our illustrious leader Theresa May has done nothing whatsoever to help the Conservatives in the borough of Scarborough, as I don’t think she’s done anything to help anybody in the north of England.
“This is, without a shadow of a doubt, sending a message back to the national Government saying ‘you’ve got Brexit wrong, you’ve got that wrong and this is how we are going to treat you going forward.”
Cllr Bastiman said he wanted to stay on as leader and said there would be “a lot of telephone conversations going on over the weekend”.
The Conservative Party saw its majority wiped out as a number of prominent councillors lost their seats.
The party finished the day on 16 seats having started on 25. Independents picked up 14 seats and Labour 13.
The shocks started early for the Conservatives as former council leader Tom Fox was ousted in Weaponness and Ramshill alongside fellow Tory Callam Walsh.
From then on the electorate set about removing cabinet members: Martin Smith, John Nock and Sandra Turner all went in quick succession.
The joint longest serving councillor, Conservative Godfrey Allanson, was also defeated in Hunmanby ward, bringing to an end 45 years of service on the council.
The Green Party maintained its two seats on the council, though with two new faces to replace retiring councillors, and UKIP gained a single seat. The party had five candidates elected in 2015 though all five later switched to independent.
Labour leader Steve Siddons said the electorate had rejected Conservative rule and he called on the independents to honour their election pledges.
He said: “The Tory plans for the borough have been rejected.
“The only way they can continue is if some independents break their promise to the electorate of time for a change and vote for a continuing Tory leadership.
“The borough needs fresh leadership. The borough voted for change.”
The Labour group will meet over the weekend to decide its strategy moving forwards before the new council meets for the first time on Tuesday to elect its leader.
Elsewhere on the authority, there was joy for independent Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff, who was elected in Hunmanby ward by a resounding majority.
Cllr Donohue-Moncrieff was barred from the council for a large part of last year following a decision from the outgoing chief executive Jim Dillon.
She said the level of her victory, she gained more than 900 votes, had been a shock and opened up on her battle with mental illness.
She said: “It has been a horrific three years for me personally and there were times I didn’t know I would be alive at one point and it’s really humbling that so many people went out and voted for me. They understood I’d been ill and the issues that I’d faced and they appreciated the work I had done.”