Shropshire Star

Councillor 'unceremoniously' kicked out of Telford Lib Dem group

A council’s only independent councillor will no longer sit in a group with Lib Dem members, after a “breakdown in their relationship”.

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Councillor Peter Scott will no longer work with Telford & Wrekin Council's Lib Dem group.

Telford & Wrekin Councillor Peter Scott previously joined the group in an arrangement he called “mutually beneficial”.

He admits “questioning the validity” of some of the party’s messaging, and says he was “unceremoniously kicked out” for it.

Liberal Democrat leader Bill Tomlinson accused Councillor Scott of “openly attacking” and “impugning the integrity of our party and some of its councillors in social media posts an comments”, and confirmed they have “parted ways”.

Councillor Scott, who represents Newport North and West, could lose his seats on Telford & Wrekin Council’s Standards and Planning committees as a result of the split but says he will continue to serve his constituents.

Committee seats are allocated proportionally based on groupings.

Independent members are unlikely to be allocated committee seats unless they join a group and, on this basis, Councillor Scott has sat with the borough’s Lib Dem councillors since 2014 as the “Liberal Democrat / Independent Group”.

“After I questioned the validity of some of their local social media posts and the information on their ‘Focus’ leaflet, I found myself blocked and kicked out of the group,” Councillor Scott said.

“No-one spoke to me or asked to hear my side. I was told I was out. Not very democratic, to say the least.

“It may prevent me from sitting on committees but actually I felt better sitting on my own.

“I’m an independent. I don’t need to be in a group. I serve Newport and that’s all that matters.

“Truth, honesty, integrity; That’s all that matters. I leave the games to others.”

Councillor Tomlinson said the group “wish Councillor Scott well”, but took the decision to remove him from their ranks.

“Our councillors have always been willing to work constructively with colleagues from all sides of the council chamber, and this will continue,” he said.

“Over the past 20 years, we have regularly had independent members sitting in our group without issues.

“Whilst we have not always agreed with Councillor Scott, and never expected him to toe the party line, our joint council group has always been underpinned by a relationship of mutual respect.

“Over a period of several months, we have been disappointed to see Councillor Scott openly attack our party with increasing frequency online.

“In recent weeks, we have been saddened to see Councillor Scott impugn the integrity of our party and some of its councillors in social media posts and comments.

“Regretfully, we feel the relationship of respect and trust vital to the maintenance of an effective council group has broken down as a result.

“We believe it will be better for our councillors, for Councillor Scott, and for the borough’s residents if we no longer sit as a joint group.”

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