Shropshire councillor quits Conservative group over 'north-south divide'
A councillor has quit Shropshire Council's ruling Conservative group in protest against what he says is a lack of representation for the south of the county.
Robert Tindall, who represents Brown Clee, said it was "an absolute disgrace" that only one of the authority's 10 portfolio holders was from the south, when a newly re-shuffed cabinet was revealed on Thursday.
Now Councillor Tindall has said he will continue as an "independent conservative" councillor, but not as a member of Shropshire Council's official Conservative group.
The authority's new cabinet was announced by new council leader Peter Nutting at the first meeting of Shropshire Council since the local elections.
All appointed councillors are from the north of the county or the Shrewsbury area except for Lee Chapman, portfolio holder for health and adult social care, who represents Church Stretton.
Councillor Nutting said it was a countywide administration based on talent, not geography.
He said: "I didn't take geography into account and I'm not sure we have done in the past."
Another south Shropshire councillor, Lib Dem Andy Boddington, for Ludlow North, said he had sympathy with Councillor Tindall's comments, however.
He said: "There was an extraordinary outburst from one Tory councillor who was outraged by the paucity of councillors from the south of the county in cabinet positions or chairing the key scrutiny committees.
"I sympathise with Councillor Tindall’s point when he angrily told the meeting 'It is an absolute disgrace that there is only one representative from the south' on the cabinet.
"The cabinet has swung further to the north. That’s going to make it more difficult for the voice of the rural south of Shropshire to be heard," he said.