Boston

New Boston council leader calls for “line in the sand” to end bickering

The new leader of Boston Borough Council has said he wants to “draw a line in the sand” over the resignation and replacement of Councillor Aaron Spencer.

However, he may have a tough time ahead following a heated debate on Monday night.

Councillor Paul Skinner was elected unchallenged with 16 votes for and seven against him taking up the position.

He will be the third leader in position since last May’s local elections.

Several of the opposition members at Monday’s Full Council meeting were scathing over their Conservative counterparts. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Tempers flared during the meeting, with Bostonian Independent Group Councillor Brian Rush even hitting out at a “smirking” member of the public.

The election followed the resignation from position and party by Councillor Aaron Spencer in January, who said he was given the option to jump or be pushed.

His former colleagues however, accused him of being “arbitrary and dictatorial” and say they have launched a complaint into “serious concerns”.

They also questioned his decision to remove Councillor Michael Cooper from the planning committee – and reinstated him shortly after.

Former leader Councillor Aaron Spencer’s seat remained empty as his old party colleagues crowned their new king. Photo: Daniel Jaines

Some independent and Labour councillors said there was a conspiracy to remove Councillor Spencer and accused Conservatives of using him as a pawn for personal gain.

Councillor Anne Dorrian (BIG) said: “The way you treated that young man was nothing short of appalling.”

Councillor Brian Rush said: “There’s a clutch of you that deserve nothing more than the least respect possible.”

However, several members leapt to defend the ruling group.

Mayor of Boston Conservative Councillor Anton Dani said his colleagues were “honourable”.

Conservative Councillor Yvonne Stephens said: “I didn’t come into this for personal gain in any way shape or form. I came into this to help people.”

Fellow Tory Councillor Jonathon Noble said: “We are the Conservatives, we are the ruling group, if we wish to change our leader we will do so.”

Following the meeting, Councillor Skinner said he would deal with the situation “by literally drawing a line in the sand and moving on”.

“If the individuals themselves won’t move on and won’t engage, there’s not not an awful lot I can do about it. But there’s some awful good people opposite as well that work hard, who I’ve got a lot of respect for,” he said.

He called on the council to “pull behind the town” and said it “has a great future”.

He told Local Democracy Reporters he was “pleased to serve the people of this town”.

He confirmed he would be taking a number of the projects launched under Councillor Spencer’s leadership, including the PE21 regeneration project and Climate Change motions, forward.

Councillor Paul Skinner was elected to the council in 2015 and currently serves on the cabinet as the regulatory services portfolio holder.

He has previously held responsibilities over portfolios including the town centre and public toilets.

He sits on both Fishtoft Parish Council and Lincolnshire County Council.

Outside of local democracy he has been a school governor, sat on charities and coached sports groups such as Boston Canoe Club.

Councillor Spencer did not attend last night’s meeting.


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