December 21 2014 Latest news:
By Matt Hunter
Thursday, December 6, 2012
A CALL was made for a councillor to resign last night after he switched from being a Conservative to an Independent within weeks of being elected.
Barry Humphreys was elected to the north ward of Stowmarket Town Council last month as a Tory councillor.
But after a town council meeting last night he announced he was becoming an Independent councillor because of his role working at Wattisham Airfield.
Speaking to the EADT after the meeting, Mr Humphreys said army regulations meant he could not stand for a political party. He said that potential conflict had only come to light when it was too late to change his party on the ballot papers.
Now the Green Party whose candidate, Linda Baxter, came second in the election are calling on Mr Humphreys to step down.
Green Party town councillor Nigel Rozier said: “Barry Humphreys may make an excellent councillor, but what has troubled me since all this came to light is that I think it is fundamentally wrong to win as the Conservative Party candidate then take the seat as an Independent.
“Considering what has happened, with the benefit of hindsight, we feel that the electorate has been misled into voting Conservative in good faith but they are not now represented by a Conservative councillor.
“Major Humphreys should resign and, if he wishes, put to the test his assertion of an overwhelming personal vote by standing as an Independent in the subsequent by-election.”
Mr Humphreys said it was only “speculation” that the Green Party candidate would have won the election if he had stood as an Independent.
He told the EADT said: “It’s not to do with the general politics, because of my employment I cannot stand as a Conservative councillor.
“I have been quite open and done it really early and so it will not be a surprise to anyone.
“In the military it would cause a conflict, everything is above board and they are supportive of me as long as I’m Independent.
“The council were made aware as soon as I was. There was a date where you could not come out of the ballot system, I could not have changed the ballot, I was between a rock and a hard place.
“I had an amicable meeting with Nigel Rozier only the other day explaining the whole point. I am well known in the town and a lot of people voted for me because of who I was.”