Boston Borough councillor denies post-election party switch

The original listing on the council website
The original listing on the council website

An Independent Boston Borough Councillor has denied switching party less than a month after being elected after the authority’s website showed her as Conservative. The party said it was an “administrative error”.

Councillor Tracey Abbott, of Wyberton ward, was elected on an independent ticket on May 2.

The amended listing on the Boston Borough Council website

The amended listing on the Boston Borough Council website

However, yesterday (Thursday) her councillor page on the borough authority’s website had her listed as Conservative with the party’s logo above.

A council spokesman said she had joined the Conservatives on May 14.

When contacted however, Councillor Abbott, who sits as vice-chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Environment & Performance committee, denied she had changed her political allegiance to the Conservative Party, but refused to comment further.

Today (Friday), the website has changed, but lists her in the ‘Conservative Political Grouping’.

Councillor Abbott’s husband Darron has also publicly shared an email between his wife and Democratic Services Manager Lorraine Bush, which confirms she had signed to be treated as a member of the Conservative group, but that it did not mean she was a member.

Conservative Party deputy leader Nigel Welton confirmed: “There was an error with the website that was corrected as soon as we identified it.”

“She is not a member of the party, hasn’t joined the party, isn’t a member of the party. However, she has aligned with the Conservatives for committee places,” he added.

“Because of the way Government works, she has to be signed up as part of a group to be able to sit on a committee.”

He pointed to a similar arrangement in the previous administration which saw Labour councillor Paul Gleeson align with the independent groups, but remain a member of his party.

She’s not the only Boston Borough Councillor to appear to switch however, as it appears Councillor Viven Edge is no longer UKIP and is listed as independent.

A Boston Borough Council spokesman said this also took place on May 14.

Councillor Edge has been contacted for comment.

No other councils have so far reported councillors changing party allegiances, however political groups of councillors have appeared across the county.

In North Kesteven, the Conservative councillors once in power formed the NKAdministration and invited Independent and Lincolnshire Independent councillors to join their executive.