Ousted Wisbech Tory says he will go it alone as an independent

WISBECH councillor Phil Webb quit the Cabinet of Fenland Council on Tuesday just hours after declaring he would fight next month’s election as an independent.

Cllr Webb, ousted during a bitter behind the scenes battle, refused to tell colleagues until the last moment of his intentions.

He dealt his former party bosses a double whammy by also declaring he would stand as an independent in the Medworth ward of Wisbech Town Council

In his resignation letter to Alan Melton he told the council leader he held no grudges against him personally or any Cabinet colleague.

Cllr Melton had been under immediate pressure to sack his errant Cabinet member and Cllr Webb accepted “he is getting pressurised from above for my head; he has been good to me and I at least owe him this.”

There will now be a six way contest for the Elm and Christchurch ward for the two Fenland seats.

Cllr Webb as an independent will be pitted against his former Cabinet colleague Councillor Mac Cotterell and Christchurch parish councillor Will Sutton who won the Tory nomination to replace him.

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Robert Pinnock, who achieved a respectable 319 votes in 207 and came third, will join Cllr Webb as an independent candidate whilst Labour has one candidate, Nicholas Poole of Guyhirn and the Lib Dems have Verity Colbert of Chatteris as their candidate.

Cllr Webb said he had been “unfairly de-selected as a Conservative candidate by my local members.”

He later lost an appeal to the NE Cambs Tory Party executive and said “I now feel I must continue with my potential political career as an independent.”

In his letter to Cllr Melton he added: “Sorry it has come to this but you know who to blame, good luck with your campaign.”

Cllr Webb fears he got caught up in a widely spoken of ‘campaign’ to punish a group of councillors who wrote a letter of complaint to the Standards Board of England regarding the conduct of former deputy leader Councillor Fred Yeulett, ousted during the 2009/10 ‘email gate’ scandal.

Both Cllr Yeulett and senior party officials have always denied the existence of any such campaign but Cllr Webb believes his de-selection was unfair.

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