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Former mayor quits Conservatives to become independent

Posted on Tuesday 28th May 2013 at 11:27 am by SH (Editor)

Cllr Charlotte Walker of Bradley Stoke Town Council.

A Bradley Stoke town councillor has quit the Conservatives and become independent after refusing to allow herself to be associated with what she describes as “politically induced child’s play”.

Cllr Charlotte Walker, who has just stood down following her year’s term as Mayor of Bradley Stoke, has dropped the local Conservative Party and become an independent member of the town council.

The news was revealed last week in a press release circulated by Ms Walker’s brother, Cllr Ben Walker, who himself resigned from the Conservative Party in May last year and switched to UKIP.

The press release quotes Ms Walker as saying:

“As I have expressed recently, I have tried to remain impartial to party politics during my time on Bradley Stoke Town Council.”

“Although some of my views may be deemed to meet those of certain political groups, I have always tried to make decisions based on what I feel is right for the residents of Bradley Stoke and not follow any political agenda.”

“However, in recent months it has become increasing difficult to do so when associated with the Conservative Party. I have not and will not follow suit purely because I am told to do so or associate myself with politically induced child’s play. As a result of my unwillingness to tow the party line, it has been made clear to me that I cannot truly be part of the Conservative Party in Bradley Stoke.”

“Therefore as an elected individual on Bradley Stoke Town Council, I will no longer represent the Conservative Party and I will instead act as an Independent.”

“I understand for some individuals this may seem undemocratic, however in order to represent the community to the best of my ability and to ensure residents views are heard between the raised voices of party politics, I feel this is the right decision.”

Asked by The Journal, what was meant by the phrase “politically induced child’s play”, Mr Walker told us that Ms Walker “would rather not elaborate at this point,” but he added that the remark “referred more to the ‘Conservative Group’ rather than the council itself”.

Ms Walker was rather more forthcoming when interviewed on the BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast Show yesterday (Monday 27th May), where she referred to:

“Games that have not allowed me to do what I can do best for the community, such as not being included in email circuits and [discussion of] plans for the future.”

Adding:

“I think it comes down to my family’s political associations. I think there was a little bit of fear that I would pass on some information and act as a mole.”

Hear the full interview on BBC iPlayer (available until 9am on Monday 3rd June 2013).

Indications that all was not well in Ms Walker’s relationship with the Conservative Party first surfaced last year when she voted against inviting local Conservative MP Jack Lopresti to join her in opening the town council’s new office at the Jubilee Centre. More recently, at the town council’s AGM on 14th May, she joined the three UKIP members in opposing the selection of Cllr John Ashe (Conservative) as Vice-Chair for 2013/14.

Asked in the BBC interview if she might consider joining another party, Ms Walker said:

“I can categorically state that I will not go to UKIP. I probably will stay as an independent.”

Local Conservatives yesterday issued the following statement:

“During the latest meeting of the Bradley Stoke Conservatives, Cllr Charlotte Walker’s press release was discussed.”

“The release detailed her resignation from the Conservative Group to become an independent councillor.”

“The Group unanimously agreed to thank Charlotte for her year as Chairman of the Town Council and to wish her all the best in the future.”

“It is noted by the Conservative Group that Charlotte’s comments were released by her brother, Ben Walker, who was also elected by the people to represent them as their Conservative councillor and then let them down by defecting to UKIP.”

“UKIP have failed to gain a mandate from the residents of Bradley Stoke on the occasion of two by-elections since that time.”

“The Group would like to place on public record their thanks to the residents of Bradley Stoke for recognising our enthusiasm and energy in ensuring that we continue to build on the many improvements the Conservative group has brought to Bradley Stoke.”

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24 Responses to “Former mayor quits Conservatives to become independent”

  1. TheStokers Says:

    Miss Walker hasn’t paid a sub to the Conservative Party – despite being asked many times – therefore she was not a member anyway. She was elected in 2011 on the Conservative ticket but has so far failed to ever pay a sub for membership. You can’t resign from a party if you are actually not a member!

    I am however pleased that she has declined to join UKIP – having obviously decided to steer clear of their dubious policies. I wish Charlotte well during her remaining time until 2015 as an independent.

  2. Bert Says:

    Well, I suppose if Ms Walker is going to be left out of the loop by her party anyway (you can maybe understand their paranoia if her brother is a member of “the competition”), she might as well stand as an independent. Personally, I’d like all councillors to be independent – sometimes, it feels like they’re only in parties to make up the numbers.

  3. JonBoy Says:

    Interesting development!

    Although aligned with a political party it is possible to act for the good of the local residents without compromising your integrity.

    This is a brave move if Ms Walker seeks to gain re-election in 2015 because despite what Conservative councillors do or say (remember that they closed the youth clubs in the town and the Tweet about “not cutting enough”), the public still go out and vote for them.

    I’m sure, by the comments I see posted on the pages of the Journal by residents, that despite their best efforts the Tories will get re-elected in 2015!!

    JonBoy

  4. Cllr John Ashe Says:

    Many people will know that my local is the Stokers pub in Little Stoke. I wish to point out that I am not TheStokers writer. I do not use a pseudonym. On the rare occasions that I write a comment on this site I always use my real name.

    Cllr John Ashe.

  5. BS Resident Says:

    Agreeing with Bert.
    I too would like councillors to be independant.
    Why should local council be political?
    It’s been far too political in the past & have Councillors always worked for BS Town good or just to any the opposition?
    As Ms Walker has said,She would much rather work on the Council for the Community good rather than politics.With that mandate I’d vote for Her,unfortunately I’m not in Her ward,I may move though!

  6. glyn Says:

    Is this not the same councillor who has hardly attended any council meetings in the last year ? If so I am quite sure that independent / conservative she is not looking after any of our interests !

  7. Lackoflopresti Says:

    Dear Glyn,

    Maybe if you understood anything about the nature of the councils meetings, you would understand that Cllr Walker was not required to attend all the various meetings. As chair of full council she is not chair of all the sub-committees, she is ex officio.

  8. Cllr John Ashe Says:

    As this debate seems to be continuing, I thought that I would make the following comments. Firstly Charlotte was fully supported by her fellow councillors to be Mayor and we thank her for carrying out her duties in a professional manner. We also fully understand the difficult position she found herself in and accept her decision to go independent.

    All the Town Council Conservative councillors are members of the Conservative Party apart from Charlotte. All our literature, surveys, canvassing routes etc were emailed to all members. Charlotte chose not to become a member and therefore should not be surprised that she was not included in the loop. If she had joined, she would have been included in all emails.

    Bradley Stoke Conservative Association are now looking towards the 2015 local elections . We have fourteen people who want to stand for the Town Council and need one other volunteer to join us. If you are a Conservative supporter and live in Bradley Stoke (or the near vicinity) and would like to stand, please email me on johnashe@blueyonder.co.uk . The position is totally unpaid and voluntary. Your main focus must be to make Bradley Stoke the best place in the South West to live.

    Best wishes

    John.

  9. Councillor Ben Walker Says:

    In the interests of political balance;

    If you are a resident and interested in standing for Bradley Stoke Town Council as a UKIP candidate or any other local Town or Parish Council, please contact myself using ben.walker@southglos.gov.uk,
    or call 01454 864039.

    UKIP are in the process of appointing local candidates for every level of local government here in South Gloucestershire and openly welcome new members to our ever growing local branches.

    If you maybe interested in standing as an independent candidate, I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction to help make that possible.

    Looking forward to 2015.

  10. Richard Says:

    I have just one question to both the Walkers, what have you done to improve the life of a normal working person in Bradley Stoke?

    I am not interested in the views or opinions of anyone else, only those of these two clowns.

  11. Jen Says:

    In the interests of political balance if you are interested in standing on the behalf of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party there are comprehensive guidelines on how to do so on their website.

  12. JonBoy Says:

    In the interest of political balance;

    If you are a resident of the town and interested in standing as a Liberal Democrat candidate for a town council seat in 2015 please contact me using: jon.bs32@gmail.com

    The job is unpaid, but it is possible to make a real difference to where you live (assuming that the other members of the council are seeking to improve the town and not make political points as the Conservatives have been doing for the past 8 years)

    Sorry about the moan.

  13. Amused Resident Says:

    Might be tempted to vote Liberal if it wasn’t for the ever present digs and moans from JonBoy….total turn-off!!!

  14. JonBoy Says:

    Amused Resident, it’s unlikely that you’ll vote Lib Dem if you’re offended by the truth.

    I would hope that anyone voting Lib Dem would look at what we want to achieve for the town rather than the rantings of an old Lib Dem like me.

  15. Dave Tiley Says:

    People are turned off by political bickering and politicians in general, hence the rise of UKIP which also has an anti-immigration edge, along with Europe issues, they are on the up everywhere (except for Bradley Stoke!) . The problem for anyone with political interests is that the written word is so open to misinterpretation, so points on here, whether sarcastic or not on mine or anyone’s part can be taken the wrong way. Jonboy is a local person who tried his best for the town he lives in but lost his seat due to a national backlash on the Liberals getting in bed with the Tories. I think! I don’t even know the bloke, but one thing we share in common is knowing what goes on behind closed council doors, you would (or maybe not) be surprised at the behaviours of local ‘politicians’ and what their real motives and motivations are, I say this over and over and everywhere I write, go and watch South Gloucestershire Council in action, seeing is believing, you as taxpayers are paying a lot of people a lot of money for in some cases not a lot, some will never speak in four years, others are literally asleep on the job, I’ve seen them asleep at meetings, and there are many who just vote as instructed, it’s far from democratic locally, so imagine how much worse it gets as it progresses up the national tree. No wonder people are disengaged.

  16. Amused Resident Says:

    Unfortunately yet again you can’t help yourself. PLEASE can we keep comments constructive! I have lived in Bradley Stoke for over 20 years, have brought up two children who have attended and flourished at BSCS and am an avid fan of our town.

  17. Dave Tiley Says:

    Who’s knocking Bradley Stoke?? It’s come a long way since I bought my first home in Watch Elm Close back in 1990, I got stuck with negative equity for a few years but had great friends and neighbours, we even had a street party without needing a royal wedding! There is now much on offer, and the many clubs and groups are a testament to the fact that it’s people not politicians who make communities, there IS a society, even a big one! Future schooling and youth provision needs addressing but yes, celebrate the good things you have, heck, if I can find a pitch for me tee pee I’m coming back!

  18. Bert Says:

    Can someone explain the benefits (to the electorate) of councillors being aligned to national parties?
    As Dave says, it raises complete contempt for the party political system when you observe at full council meetings, subjects being voted on, straight down party lines, time and time again. It’s like watching the Borg – there seems to be no independence of mind. Not only that, if you upset the local MP, you seem to end up castigated even in your own party!
    Maybe representative democracy is a failed experiment, full stop? Perhaps direct democracy would be cheaper, fairer and faster?

  19. TheStokers Says:

    It’s all very well saying ‘I have tried to remain impartial to party politics’ but how does this girl think she got elected in the first place? Not as a result of her independent views but purely because her party colleagues were prepared to give up their Saturday mornings to deliver party literature with her grinning face on it.

  20. Sue Says:

    Whatz the relevance of this news. What was this girl’s contribution to the community, so far? She was not even able to attend the Council meetings. She became a Town Councillor and Mayor using the Conservative party. Now she ditched it, Shamefully. Please don’t fool the public.

  21. KM Says:

    This ‘Girl’ has a name!!!! Stop being so rude and try and respect other people’s views! believe it or not, we’re not all the same!!! Maybe Charlotte went independent because she’s fed up with all this ‘School like’ petty behaviour from the conservatives, (She’s not the only one!!)

  22. Sue Says:

    Oh gosh, has the girl got any respect?
    Who will bear her petty behaviour? Has she done anything good? Sorry I have no regards for her. If you are one of the few uskips, why should I bother? Bye.

  23. henry74 Says:

    to Councillor Ben Walker, I am half French-Half Italian, lived 15 years in Spain and married to a lovely Bristolian woman. Our three children have British passport but born in Spain. Do you think I have a future with UKIP:):)!

  24. Sue Says:

    Oh an another thing on the “independent” girl. She isn’t part of any working groups or standing committees at the Council. See how committed she is??? Wonder why she craved to be in gold plated chains with this sluggishness and incompetence. Nothing but brag. Don’t feel shame??? Nope, thicker than Rhinos.

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