‘I only stood for the Tories as a favour’ Ex-coun­cil­lor quits party for in­de­pen­dent role

Accrington Observer - - YOUR VIEWS -

STU­ART PIKE

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

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