A COUNCILLOR who promised Hartford and Greenbank voters he would ‘be free from restrictive party politics’ last May has joined the Conservative group.

Cllr Phil Herbert was one of two independent candidates for the ward in the 2019 Cheshire West and Chester Council elections.

He was voted in alongside Conservative Cllr Patricia Parkes, and won more votes than her fellow Tory candidate Gaynor Sinar.

But now Cllr Herbert has ‘crossed the floor’ and joined CWAC’s Conservative group – taking their total number of council seats to 29, six behind Labour’s 35.

He said: “I see on a day-to-day basis how effective Patricia is as a community councillor within Hartford and Greenbank ward.

“She cares passionately about this area, as do I, and I know that by working even more closely together, we can achieve even more for our residents.

“On a national level I think Boris Johnson is doing a great job as Prime Minister, especially during these difficult times and only the Conservatives will be able to deliver the best Brexit deal for the country.”

It is a stark U-turn for Cllr Herbert, whose election material last May talked up his independence as a selling point to voters in Hartford and Greenbank.

A flyer sent to residents calling for them to vote for him alongside Martin Loftus said: “Are you fed up with party politics and councillors that put their party before their community?

“As independent councillors we will be free from restrictive party politics, we will always put the interests of Hartford and Greenbank first.

Northwich Guardian:

The flyer sent to voters in Hartford and Greenbank last year

“Instead of decisions being based upon what is beneficial to the community, they are often made according to a party line to which party affiliated councillors are expected to obey.

“Independent councillors, if elected, could really make a difference in favour of our communities rather than the political vested interests.”

Cllr Herbert had voted alongside the Conservatives on a number of issues following his election onto council last May, and he was accepted into the group in a virtual meeting.

The move has been welcomed by CWAC Conservatives.

“I am really pleased that Phil will be joining the local Conservative team here,” said Cllr Parkes.

“Even in the midst of this crisis, there are all sorts of ongoing and new issues to work on.

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“If residents have any issues or concerns I want to let them know that we are there to help them and don’t hesitate to get in touch.”

Cllr Margaret Parker, leader of the CWAC Conservative group, added: “We have been in dialogue with Phil over a number of months and he has regularly supported our group in the chamber.

“I am pleased that we will now be working together and I am sure his knowledge and experience will prove to be an asset to the group.”

What do you think to Cllr Herbert’s decision to join the Conservatives? Email yourviews@guardiangrp.co.uk