02:39PM, Thursday 15 June 2017
The Conservative administration running the Royal Borough has been compared to a Shakespearean tragedy by a councillor who has quit the party to become an independent.
Quoting one of the Bard’s most famous plays, Hamlet, Cllr Charles Hollingsworth, who has represented Pinkneys Green since 2011, said of the borough leadership: ‘There is something rotten in the State of Denmark’.
In an email to the Advertiser at the weekend he said: “I have not only watched with growing horror the actions and pronouncements from our local leadership, but I have become increasingly embarrassed to be associated with the cabal, though I am but a humble backbencher.”
He said the trigger for his resignation was an exchange of emails with a Conservative association officer on election day, in which he was warned ‘don’t mess with me’, which left him feeling ‘bullied and threatened’.
In response he resigned from the association, meaning he could no longer serve as a Tory councillor.
He sent an email to the Conservative group on Tuesday, June 13, explaining his reasons to his fellow councillors.
It said: "Whilst delivering my bundles of In Touch leaflets (party leaflets) recently to my deliverers, I suffered my first refusal and too many of the others wondered why I wasn't doing anything about the council leader.
"To have regularly watched good and true Conservatives of long standing and faithful service being traduced both at Group meetings and beyond, has been a most unpleasant experience and at the age of 75, I no longer have the stomach for the fight."
Last month The Advertiser reported Cllr Geoff Hill (Con, Oldfield) had been sacked from his position in the cabinet due to a disagreement about the Borough Local Plan (BLP), and Cllr Leo Walters (Con, Bray) was removed from a planning panel in January after raising concerns about greenbelt percentage in the BLP.
Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “Once I was no longer a member I could speak freely. It was the catalyst that now gives me chance to say the things I want to about the ‘rotten state of Denmark’.”
“You do not have to be very bright to realise that there is not good democratic activity.”
“The whole culture is dramatically worse. The party is not the issue. It’s about the leadership
He also described the BLP as ‘absolute shambles’.
“The real thing about the BLP is no proper consultation, we knew that would happen whenever we started, it was all over Christmas.
“There’s too many holes in it, there’ no greenbelt review.
“It’s almost indefensible now, they’ve got to force it through. They say, if you don’t do it now we’ll all be screwed and the Government will build in our back gardens.
“Arguably so what, if we’ve got a crap plan maybe they should. I’m sick of project fear.”
When the Advertiser contacted council leader Simon Dudley for comment on Monday, June 12, he said: "Charles is a very affable character, I wish him all the best as an independent."
Cllr Dudley declined to comment any futher on Cllr Hollingsworth comments about his leadership.
Cllr Geoff Hill, chairman of the Conservative Association said he was 'deeply saddened' by the loss of a hard working councillor and said the door is always open for him to return.
To read the letter in full visit our website.
(W) See Musings p18
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