UPDATE: “I don’t want to go back to 1973” - Councillor confirms he crossed chamber because he ‘didn’t like direction party was going’

Boston Borough Council offices on West Street, Boston EMN-171025-171317001
Boston Borough Council offices on West Street, Boston EMN-171025-171317001

A former-Labour councillor who has crossed the chamber to join the Conservatives has said he didn’t like the direction his party was going.

Coun Nigel Welton, who it was confirmed joined the Tories by the council this morning, told The Standard: “The way the Labour party is going is not the way I want to be, so I made the decision to move.

Coun Paul Gleeson has gone independent.

Coun Paul Gleeson has gone independent.

“The direction just doesn’t fit with what I’m doing and the good stuff I’m trying to do.”

“I don’t want to go back to 1973,” he added.

Mr Welton described himself as ‘far right’ of the Labour party and left of the Conservatives.

He said: “The step was not far to make.”

Coun Nigel Welton has moved to the Conservatives.

Coun Nigel Welton has moved to the Conservatives.

Coun Welton said he had spoken to Coun Gleeson, who has joined the Independents on the council due to rules which say a party must have two people to become a group and sit on committees, prior to leaving.

He said: “I met with Paul and I chose not to leave the group until he had sorted out what he needed to do.

“He could have continued as a group of one, however, it’s beneficial to the council that he continues doing the good work he does on scrutiny.

“For the good of the council and the good of the people he needs to keep doing the good work he is doing.”

Coun Gleeson will be taking seats on the Corporate and Community Committee and Licensing/Regulatory and Appeals Committee.

The latest moves see the political composition of the Council at: 16 Conservatives, seven UKIP, four Independents and three unaligned.

Tuesday, 11.08am - A Labour councillor who has joined the Independent Group on Boston Borough Council, says he did so in order to ‘still represent constituents’ on committees after his party counterpart switched allegiance to the Tories.

Couns Paul Gleeson and Nigel Welton, who were on the authority’s Labour group, have both switched sides on the council’s party allocation sheets it was confirmed this morning (Tuesday).

However, Coun Gleeson told The Standard this morning that he was still a fully paid-up member of the Labour Party.

He explained that under council rules, groups cannot exist without at least two people, and that Coun Welton’s decision to join the Tories would have left him without seats on committees as it leaves the authority with no Labour group.

Under Boston Borough Council rules unaligned or lone councillors cannot take seats on scrutiny committees - leaving them with only Full Council debates to have their say.

Coun Gleeson said; “I’m still a member of the Labour party, however, the Independents have kindly agreed to let me join them for the purposes of seat allocation.

“I believe it would be very hard to represent my ward properly if I could not sit on committees.

“If I was solo, the only chamber would be ull council and that doesn’t have any proper decision making.”

Coun Gleeson confirmed he had approached the Labour Party bosses for this region and asked for permission for the move, which had been approved.

Coun Gleeson will be taking seats on the Corporate and Community Committee and Licensing/Regulatory and Appeals Committee.

Coun Welton has also been contacted by The Standard for comment.

Tuesday, 9.46am - The Labour Party has been with no representation on Boston Borough Council following the news that both its councillors on the authority have left.

Now former-Labour Couns Paul Gleeson and Nigel Welton have switched allegiance on the authority, with Mr Gleeson joining the Independent Group and Mr Welton heading over to the Conservatives.

A council spokesman confirmed the moves this morning (Tuesday), saying that political proportionality had been re-calculated for the committee seats.

The changes will see the Independent Group gain a seat on Corporate and Community Committee and Licensing/Regulatory and Appeals Committee, which the spokesman said Coun Gleeson will take.

The Conservatives gain a seat on Audit and Governance Committee and Environment and Performance Committee, however, have not confirmed which councillors will be appointed.

The latest moves see the political composition of the Council at: 16 Conservatives, seven UKIP, four Independents and three unaligned.

Both councillors have been contacted by The Standard.