Two more councillors leave Plymouth's Tory group

    Thursday, October 15th, 2020 8:45am

    By Local Democracy Service reporter

    Andrea Johnson and Richard Ball have now left taking the total number to six

    Two more councillors have left the Conservative group on Plymouth City Council, taking the total number of recent departures to six.

    The latest to resign are Andrea Johnson and Richard Ball, both councillors in the Compton ward alongside group leader Nick Kelly.

    In a joint statement on Wednesday, they blamed “irreconcilable differences” with the current leadership.

    Cllr Ball, who was Lord Mayor until May, said the group had “fallen apart” and suffered “massive damage”.

    The spate of resignations began when former leader Ian Bowyer and Peverell councillor Tony Carson quit on Friday after being suspended for comments in a press release calling for a cut in the speed limit on the A38.

    They urged the Labour-run council to seek a review following concerns about safety, pollution and congestion.

    Cllr Kelly said they were temporarily suspended pending an investigation as they had broken group rules and their statements did not represent the group’s views.

    He denied allegations from Cllr Bowyer, who he replaced as leader in March, that there was a culture of “aggression and intimidation” and said the disciplinary action had followed group procedure.

    The departures were followed on Monday by Cllr Bowyer’s colleagues in the Eggbuckland ward, his wife Lynda Bowyer and Heath Cook, in protest at the leadership’s behaviour.

    Cllr Ball and Cllr Johnson said in their statement on Wednesday that they had taken the decision to leave due to “irreconcilable differences and weak leadership”.

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