Council sees further shake-up as Old Leake and Wrangle councillor joins Independents

Coun Barrie Pierpoint has joined the Austins as an independent on Boston Borough Council.
Coun Barrie Pierpoint has joined the Austins as an independent on Boston Borough Council.

Boston Borough Council is seeing further shake-up as an ‘unaligned’ councillor has thrown his towel in with the authority’s two independent councillors.

The council has confirmed this morning that it had received official notification that Coun Barrie Pierpoint has joined Richard and Alison Austin on the Independent Group on the Council.

Mr Pierpoint, whose ward covers Old Leake and Wrangle, told The Standard that his decision had followed an invitation by the Austins and conversatins with them both.

He said: “I felt they have good organisation the two of them and it felt natural to join them.”

He said he would ‘continue to look after his ward as he had for the past 18 months, but that joining the Independents also allowed him to join committees.

His move also puts the Independent Group ahead of Labour in number of seats on the council.

He said: “It’s people not politics for us.”

Mrs Austin, who acts as leader of the Independent Group, with husband Mr Austin and now Mr Piepoint as deputies, said: “This is the best way to enable Councillor Pierpoint to excercise his role as a councillor to the benefit of the borough of Boston as a whole.

“Councillor Pierpoint is a very talented man with a lot to offer and as a councillor on your own, not as a part of a group, you don’t have that same ability to influence and benefit the council and the people because you can’t be part of committees - and that’s important I think.”

Mr Pierpoint earlier this month announced that he, along with former Portfolio Holder Yvonne Gunter, were planning to stand for Lincolnshire County Council elections in May under the Lincolnshire Independents in May.

Mr Pierpoint was elected to Boston Borough Council in 2015 under a UKIP ticket, however, the same day as he was elected he left the party and has been unaligned since.

The latest shake-up in party membership follows the departure of two UKIP members earlier this month with Stephen Ball becoming unaligned and David Brown ‘crossing the floor’ to the Conservative party.

The party also saw a change in leadership following its annual elections with James Edwards and Yvonne Stevens taking over as leader and deputy.

The recent moves leave the political makeup of the council as: Conservative 14, UKIP 10, Independent three, Labour two and Unaligned one.

Current leaders and deputies are: Conservatives, Peter Bedford, Michael Brookes; UKIP, James Edwards, Yvonne Stevens; Independent Group Alison Austin, Richard Austin, Barrie Pierpoint; Labour, Paul Gleeson, Nigel Welton.