Council leader denies he was forced out through a vote of no confidence

Coun Peter Bedford.
Coun Peter Bedford.

Boston Borough Council leader Peter Bedford has denied he was forced from the role by a vote of no confidence and suggested he could resign from the Conservative Group on the borough council ahead of this year’s district council elections.

Coun Bedford, who is due to step down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May, told The Standard that suggestions he had been forced from his role as leader of the council through a vote of no confidence were ‘not correct’.

In the list of Lincolnshire County Council nominations for the May 4 election, also released earlier this week, Coun Bedford is listed as running for the Coastal Ward - but this time he is unaligned, with Coun Paul Skinner taking up the Conservative mantle.

Coun Bedford told The Standard: “When the county council candidates were selected over a year ago, at that time I hadn’t the time or anything else, due to being leader of Boston and I don’t agree that a leader of a district council can be a county councillor.

“I tried it once and it’s impossible because you’re allegiances are taken two ways.”

Coun Bedford said that when he made the decision to step down the candidate had already been selected – however, he said he had been asked by several people to stand in the Coastal Ward and so was doing so under the unaligned banner.

Asked whether, if elected he would change his party allegiance at county council back to Conservative, he said: “That’s too far away. At the moment I’m unaligned and that’s the way I’ll run my campaign.”

However, asked of his future on Boston Borough Council, Coun Bedford said: “I think I will be resigning from the Conservative Group on the borough council.

“For me to be able to do it at the county, I would not be able to stand with the group in the borough.”

Coun Bedford announced he would be stepping down on Wednesday saying that ‘at 73 years of age he felt he had taken the council as far as he could and should step aside for someone else to take over’.

A new leader is due to be announced at a Full Council meeting - the next one is scheduled to be held on Monday, May 15.

The Standard has tried to contact the Boston and Skegness Conservative Association.