Grantham and Bourne Conservatives have confirmed they will not field official party candidates for the first set of Grantham Town Council elections in May.
Association Chairman Gareth Knight, who is also a South Kesteven district councillor for Barrowby Gate, said: “In my experience all Grantham councillors work together extremely well when we’re dealing with Grantham matters – contrary to what some may see on social media party politics never comes into it.
“The creation of a brand new council gives us an opportunity to do things differently and to us that means not turning it into a party political bunfight.”
The creation of the town council follows a process of consultation chaired by Conservative Graham Jeal with Labour’s Lee Steptoe as deputy.
“There are many examples of people working together to get things done. We currently have a Conservative Mayor in Mark Whittington and an Independent Deputy Mayor in Charmaine Morgan. Independent Chris Noon and I have worked together through the scrutiny process to hold Leisure SK to account. When the then Stamford-led District Council wanted to waste eight months on a 21-person committee to review
markets I proposed that Independent Tim Harrison, a lifelong champion of Grantham
Market, and his Conservative ward colleague Matt Bailey, be given power to come up
with concrete proposals to sort out the market following the consultation conducted
by the cross-party Charter Trustees. We Grantham councillors came together to get it
sorted. We have all proven that despite our differences over some peripheral issues,
we can and will work together well for the benefit of our town.”
Councillors on Bourne Town Council and Barrowby Parish Council are elected as
individuals and sit without any party affiliations whereas Sleaford and Stamford Town
Council have party groups. The local Conservatives looked at these options and
overwhelmingly agreed that taking parties out of parish and town politics was clearly
“It is of course entirely the decision of the other parties if they wish to follow our lead
but my understanding is that members of the Labour and Green parties are mandated
by national policy to stand under their party labels even at parish and town elections.
That would be a shame but it’s their decision. It will be interesting to see if members
of the SKDC Grantham Independent stand as individuals independent from each other
rather than as an organised slate akin to a political party.”
“People who join political parties of all colours tend to have a keen interest in their
community so we will of course encourage our members to put themselves forward to
stand, but there will be no shared leaflets or posters, no manifesto or agreed set of
policies, no shared website or social media feed, no party logo on the ballot paper,
no coordination of who stands where and no use of party resources. When we say
we will not be standing as a party we absolutely mean it. It will be down to
individuals to make their own case to residents.”
“My message to Grantham residents, whatever your politics, is if you have something
to offer this town then please do put yourself forward to stand and do not worry
about what any political party or group says or feel compelled to go through others.
Our new Town Council will only work if it is representative of our town.”