Independents alliance with Thanet Green Group – making 6 members at district council

Councillors Candy Gregory and Pauline Farrance

Independent Councillors Pauline Farrance and Candy Gregory, who both represent Salmestone Ward, have this week joined with the Thanet Green group of councillors at Thanet council, expanding the group to 6 members at district council.

This move means the group will gain more committee places and be able to exert more influence on decisions.

Leader of the Green Group Cllr Mike Garner said: “Over the last few months, we have worked closely with Cllrs Farrance and Gregory on a number of campaigns, including against overdevelopment in Thanet, and we felt it was a logical move to come together and increase our influence at the council.”

The councillors, who were both Labour Party representatives before going independent, say their bid to save farmland from development has most noticeably been supported by Thanet Greens.

In a joint statement about the alliance the pair said: “This is a very positive move for us and, more importantly, our residents. As non-aligned Independent Councillors, we were not allowed to join any committees or cabinet advisory groups where we could have made a difference to policies affecting residents of Thanet.

“The Green group of councillors have stood out as the Party who are more actively campaigning to save our food-producing fields, and we valued their support throughout the long and arduous campaign to Save our Shottendane fields from development.

“TDC must concentrate on finding more brownfield sites and works towards utilising all the empty properties in Thanet, before granting planning permission for any more developments for thousands more houses.”

Thanet has 56 councillors. The political composition is now: 26 Conservative; 16 Labour; 6 Thanet Independents; 6 Green group and 2 Independents.

31 Comments

  1. Good news for the Green Party and good news for Thanet as a whole.

    I would say, however, that any Councillor switching parties midway through an election cycle should trigger a by election and the Councillor involved should be made to fund the costs of this.

    It’s a little disrespectful to the local electorate to switch allegiances after a vote has taken place.

    • In the UK, we vote for a candidate, not a party.
      And by doing what they did, these Independent councillors have created a situation where they can better influence Council policies, and hence the interests of their voters.

      • Absolutely correct Andrew; some might believe they’re voting for a party, but they’re wrong. We can only vote for a person.

  2. They should immediately resign and seek re-election as they were elected in good faith by Labour voters as representing the Labour Party policies, otherwise they will continue to stand under false pretences.

  3. Well, the Labour Party haven’t contributed to trying to stop the decimation of our fields for development. Clearly the best option for Thanet is to have as many councillors as possible that are willing to make changes for the better. Good move!!

    • No councillor can do much to oppose housing if the site is in the Local Plan. Any attempt to refuse planning permission means the applicant can go to an appeal and most probably win as happened over the Shottendane site. Losing an appeal costs us taxpayers heavilyas costs will be, in most cases, granted to the applicant.

      Hands are tied by the plan that should have been in place had there not been a change of administration in 2015. This meant the government imposed more housing units on TDC that needed to be built.

      • Agreed local plan not being sorted until this year is utterly disgraceful failure of past Tory and labour councils. Which has created the extra numbers that are now needed according to government formula.

    • Cllr’s aren’t paid but get a small allowance, around fifty quid I think.
      Not much of a gravy train.

      • Garry Saunders £50? I think you will find the basic allowance is £4,570 a year plus out of pocket travelling expenses to council approved meetings.

      • Garry, I think you are getting confused between Town and Parish councils, which pay a tiny allowance, and District Councils which pay four and a half grand a year.

  4. So how independent are they now? Does this mean anyone standing as an independent is just another vote for green nutty policies.

    • An Independent is as the name indicates – independent. They can align themselves as they please but, hopefully they do so in ways that better represent their constituents.
      With Thanet Greens, I understand, these Cllr’s will retain their freedom to vote according to their views as Thanet Greens don’t whip their Cllr’s.
      It’s a shame that local politics isn’t just about the needs if residents. Lab, Lib-Dem and Tory could learn a lot if their Cllr’s voted as individuals rather than a mindless and uncritical block.

  5. The Greens did a deal with Labour and didn’t field a candidate in the recent by – election in Nethercourt. I rest my case Me Lord.

  6. My understanding is that TDC policy treats Independent councillors as second class, excluding them from information and engagement only provided to party members. That is clearly wrong, and this seems a pragmatic way of them achieving the influence and role they are entitled to, whilst remaining independent. Were they to become “party” rather than just “group” members, that would be different.

    • Council committees are based on proportional representation of party groups. The law doesn’t provide for non-aligned councillors to be included in the calculation. Thus an “independent” councillor can’t sit on a committee. The only exception is if every other member of the council votes to depart from proportionality to facilitate it.

      On the face of it this is unfair, but it’s not a TDC thing – it’s the law. However there is nothing to stop “independent” councillors forming an “independent” group or attaching themselves to one that already exists, in order to get seats on committees.

      It’s no doubt much more difficult to operate outside of the party structure for practical reasons but councils themselves can’t lawfully differentiate between backbench members in terms of access and information based on party affiliation.

  7. Both India and Turkey have a “no defections” law. You have the democratic right to change parties but you must legally resign and stand again for your new party or grouping. Wales recently bought in a legal requirement that anyone standing as an “independent” is required to list any registered political party they have been a member of. These sort of legal changes are good and let voters know the real situation. In Thanet some people seem to change their parties ever time they change their hair do!

      • They are both decent hard working socialists so likely victims of a combination of the Starmer purges and the local party misogyny / sharp elbowed leadership team who don’t take well anyone expressing a different views to thier own, the lack of sucking up to TDC leadership thats expected from members of the two main groups.

  8. Councillors “allowances” basic pay = approx £10 per day NOT HOUR. There are other benefits. Being abused and accused of almost everything apart from murder (haven’t seen that YET) No wonder so few good quality residents come forward.

  9. Wow.. Its amazing all these view points or opinions.
    TDC councilors fail this town makes no difference does it really.
    I could rant about it, but feel you lot above punch the truth into the matter no one on the council has ever lied or been deceptive.oops that’s a lie!
    Since 1972 inception this council has deceived each and everyone of us… Would I work for people who think they are above the normal Neurotypical not when crime and corruption sits on every party.

    • Why not try your coherent version perhaps? Over the last 4 decades it is very clear there has been a huge amount of corruption. Not so much now, it still continues, mainly in planning decisions. Very difficult to prove unless you have access to the donors lists.

  10. I am not a member of any political party, but but vote for whatever party policies I support! This should always be the case, but many people vote for a party right or wrong. For instance who wants to vote for a party that intends to forcibly deport people who have escaped war torn countries like Iraq, Sudan, Syria, or repressive regimes like Iran etc, to an African country run by a blood stained dictator, in Rwanda? Or one that didn’t test people who had had Corona virus in hospital, and who were sent back to their Care Homes when they were still contagious, killing 20,000 elderly people? Al this whilst the Prime Minister was holding garden parties, or “Bring a Bottle Party”? I know I won’t!

  11. Indeed Dumpton, the choice on which party to vote for is dire. Many didn’t vote in the last General Election and it seems not much has changed (in fact the situation is in a lot of cases far worse) Lets see how the tide flows in the up coming elections.

  12. As someone who lives in the ward ‘represented’ by these 2 women, do they think it’s fair to their constituents that they have changed tack yet again? Personally, I wouldn’t vote for the Green Party so I am now no longer represented on TDC. Makes a mockery of the voting system once again.

    • I understand your feelings on this but becoming independent Cllrs was not their choice as they were thrown out of the labour party . Nevertheless it seems that joining with the Green party is very much their choice and therefore they should seek a mandate through a by election , from their electorate who put them on the Council as labour councillors, only this time as Greens. Otherwise people as yourself have every right to feel cheated.

    • I’m sure they would happily listen to any concerns you have you have. As far as I can tell they are standing by the promises they were elected on. It’s very unfortunate that the labour leadership national and local can’t do the same. They have worked to tackle issues around road safety at my childs primary school in thier ward and have campaigned timelessly for local NHS issues and overdevelopment on our local farm land. Your lucky to have them I’m stuck with two conservative lifers one on ex kipper and the other has never had a proper job beyond being a local councillor and self proclaimed local personality. I didn’t vote for either and the latter is on record for not understanding the business of the one of the highest profile TDC committees which they have chaired for years. Consider yourself lucky.

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