Conservative district councillor resigns from party in protest over treatment after going against whip

Cllr Sue Gallagher has resigned from the Conservative Group
Cllr Sue Gallagher has resigned from the Conservative Group

A Conservative district councillor has resigned from the party because of her treatment from the group’s leaders after she went against the whip in a recent council vote.

In her resignation letter to Warwick District Council leader Cllr Andrew Mobbs seen by the Courier and KWN, Cllr Sue Gallagher (Con, Arden) slammed the current administration as a ‘male-dominated clique’ and ‘out of touch’ with the public.

But Cllr Mobbs said he did not recognise a lot of what she said, and that the council was acting in the district’s best interests.

Cllr Gallagher had previously expressed support for a motion from Labour councillor Stef Perkins to put a ten-year lease in place for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association to use the former Royal Naval Association club building in Adelaide Road in Leamington.

But the Conservative group had imposed a whip on its members to vote against the motion, despite it having cross-party support - and the motion was voted down at a full council meeting on Wednesday August 8.

Cllr Gallagher said they did this because voting for the ten-year-lease would conflict with the council’s plans for the ‘Creative Quarter’.

She said: “The motion was put forward as non-political motion, but Cllr Mobbs made it political by bringing in the whip.

“All I wanted to do was to get them (the Ahmadiyya Muslims) a reasonable lease to carry on down there.

“I voted for the motion, so I went against the whip. It’s something I had to do because I thought what they (the Conservatives) were doing was wrong.”

Although Cllr Gallagher was frustrated at the three-line whip, she said she had to resign because of her subsequent treatment.

She alleged that Cllr Mobbs, Cllr John Cooke (Con, St John’s), and Cllr Michael Coker (Con, Abbey) had already discussed her fate and would not give her a fair hearing.

Cllr Gallagher added: “The Conservative group leadership does not represent the Conservative Party I recognise or joined. Too often of late, the Executive has believed its spin while being completely out of touch with real people and real life.

“I am not prepared to subject myself to being potentially demeaned via what would be little more than a kangaroo court before what I believe has become a tawdry administration directed by a male-dominated clique of individuals.”

Cllr Andrew Mobbs said: “It is with regret that Cllr Mrs Gallagher has taken this position. This is a matter for the Conservative group. Our group agreed our position regarding a motion at council and Cllr Gallagher did not follow the agreed group decision.

“With regard to the detail regarding the motion in the letter from Cllr Mrs Gallagher, I fail to recognise a lot of what has been said.

“A decision was made by the Executive in April 2018 which was later confirmed by council. We always make decisions based on the best outcome for the district.”