Conservatives: We are staying put

First published in News

CLAIMS three Conservative councillors in Brentwood will stand down early from their seats have been rubbished.

Rumours had spread around social media pages saying Ann Coe, who represents South Weald ward, Keith Sparling, of Ingatestone, Fryerning and Mountnessing, and Cheralyn Lewis, Brentwood South, were all set to step down.

If resulting by-elections saw the Tories lose all three seats, the authority would move into no overall control.

However, when approached directly by the Weekly News, all three councillors, who are due to stand for re-election in May 2014, said the rumours were false.

Mrs Coe, who is mayor of Brentwood, said it was “frustrating” to have these rumours spread.

She added: “I’m loyal to my residents. I’ll remain as a Conservative councillor for South Weald until the residents who elected me decide they don’t want me to represent them anymore.

“It’s annoying because we’re trying to do the best for our residents and then you get people saying this and that – it’s just like children playing in the playground.”

A spokesman for the authority also confirmed council bosses had not received any notification of members wishing to stand down.

Questions have been raised in recent months about the Tory group’s grip on power in Brentwood after seeing two seats in the traditionally Conservative ward of Shenfield switch to Lib Dem councillors.

In December, four members of the Tories resigned from the group before forming Brentwood First last month.

Council leader Louise McKinlay also spoke of her frustration of hearing the rumours, adding the ruling party at the council is still strong.

Mrs McKinlay said: “There’s no truth in these rumours at all and they’re based on nothing. I just want residents to know it’s rubbish.”

The Tories hold 21 council seats out of 37, with the Lib Dems having nine, Brentwood First four, Labour two and one Independent.

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