‘I only stood for the Tories as a favour’ Ex-councillor quits party for independent role
AFORMER councillor has resigned from the party, saying the main reason he stood as a Conservative was a personal favour.
Huncoat businessman Nick Whittaker is eyeing a return to Hyndburn council’s backbenches at next May’s local elections as an independent, saying he is fed up of being told people won’t vote for him because of party politics.
Mr Whittaker, of Vale Court, Huncoat, was ward councillor from 20102014, but then suffered back to back electoral reverses to Labour candidates Bernard Dawson and Eamonn Higgins.
He told the Observer the primary reason he first stood as a Tory candidate was because of a request from Coun Tony Dobson - now group leader.
Mr Whittaker, 51, said: “I did it for Tony, more than anything. National politics don’t mean that much to me. I resigned from the Conservative party about six weeks ago. I explained my reservations to Tony and he understood. He’s a good friend.”
He added that he was glad to be out of the “dayto-day back biting” between the main parties.
He said: “I’ve had so many people saying if you weren’t standing for the Conservatives I would have voted for you. Every meeting I go to all the Labour group do is blame the Conservative central government saying they’ve got no money, and all the Conservative group do is blame the Labour group over the town centre. That’s not making things better. I like where I live and I want to make it better, which is what I think local councillors should be doing.”
Mr Whittaker added: “I have been campaigning with the Friends of Huncoat War Memorial and being involved with the Huncoat Forum now for several years and understand that local issues matter to local people.
“Huncoat is the forgotten area of Hyndburn. I hope people will get behind me and elect me to support them in getting what Huncoat needs.”
Coun Dobson said he understood the decision considering national “difficulties”, including Brexit.
He said: “He is very passionate about Huncoat and the place where he grew up. Although he has a lot of Conservative views and values he does feel that his best way of serving his local community is by being completely independent. I completely understand and respect that. I wish him all the best.” He added: “We have had a number of candidates coming forward wishing to stand for us.
“Whilst locally our arguments are really setting the agenda with the general public, I’m surprised we have still got people coming forward because nationally we are still having a few difficulties. The whole Brexit debate is just a nightmare. You can please one person and upset the neighbour on the street. It’s just a minefield.”
Former Huncoat councillor Nick Whittaker