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Call for more independent councillors
YORK should field an army of independent candidates to represent residents at the next local elections, according to a councillor who quit the city’s ruling political party in protest at its policies.
Equalities campaigner Lynn Jeffries, who said Labour’s plans to cut social care for 184 vulnerable people made up her mind to resign from the group, has confirmed she will now continue representing City of York Council ’s Westfield ward as an independent, rather than joining another party.
In an interview with The Press today – her first since she left Labour – she has called for others to stand as independents when residents next decide who runs York, saying it would help to break the grip of “nonsense party politics” in local government.
Coun Jeffries will be an independent candidate at the next election and said she would be prepared to act as a rallying point for others if necessary, saying there were many “very sensible, grounded people” in York who would make “excellent councillors”.
“I would like to see an independent standing in every ward – that would be a fantastic thing,” she said.
Mark Warters, who represents Osbaldwick and was York’s only sitting independent councillor until now, said: “It’s wonderful news that somebody who has been on the inside of the political party system has seen the light, and I echo what Coun Jeffries says – York needs to be run by local people representing local people, not career politicians.
“You cannot serve two masters. You can represent a community or represent a political doctrine. It takes a lot of moral courage to stand up against a political party machine and I congratulate Coun Jeffries for what she has done.”
Tony Marron, of the East Yorkshire Independents party, which fielded non-political candidates across the region at the last local elections and plans to broaden its reach next time, said: “At a local level, party politics doesn’t matter - it’s about people, communities and resources.
“We want to have as many candidates as we can in East Yorkshire at the next election and we fully support anybody in other areas who is looking to do the same.”