The following email was sent today to all Councillors from Councillor Sean Pryce:
I have a duty to do what is right for the residents I represent. I stood as a councillor so that I can represent the views and wishes of residents. The Labour leadership of this council and certain cabinet members are repeatedly and consistently refusing to listen to the views of residents. This could not have been more clearly proven by the response to more than 99% of residents opposing a parking scheme. The council has no mandate to introduce such a parking scheme, and to propose and support spending a further £20,000, just so the council can justify raising revenue by parking charges, is possibly illegal, and if not is certainly immoral.
Residents are also tired of the annual rounds of council tax rises, when other councils that already have lower council tax rates are again freezing theirs.
From a personal point of view, as an ex serving police officer I had enjoyed my roles involving Cleveland Police, but the group saw fit to remove my involvement in favour of yourself and Councillor Goddard, when neither of you have a fraction of the knowledge of policing or policing issues. The fact that this was a paid role was not my concern.
Hence, I think that I can better represent the interests of residents by continuing my councillor duties in opposition to the Labour group and so resign from the Labour Group and from Labour Party membership herewith.
I hope that you can turn round what many interpret as an arrogant and “we know what's best for you” attitude from the leadership and some of the cabinet for the benefit of the council and our residents. No problems with anyone personally, just the unwillingness of some to listen to the residents they are supposed to represent.
Cllr Sean Pryce
Labour & Cooperative Councillor
St Germains Ward
Marske by the Sea
Lib Dem Group Leader Glyn Nightingale commented:
"Sean Pryce's resignation from the Labour Party is hardly surprising. This is yet another in a series of Labour defections and resignations since 2011. To lose three Cabinet members is serious. But to see its majority whittled away by defections is calamitous for Labour.
“The only two gains Labour made in Redcar in Council elections in 2011 have now been lost to defections.
“Labour continue to take their local dominance and power for granted.
They shamelessly ignore common sense, waste taxpayers' money and disregard what local people want.
They have rejected the Government's money to freeze Council Tax; squandered money on a vertical pier and £20,000 on a consultation that ignores a popular petition protesting against parking charges in Saltburn. It’s typical of their incompetence in running a multi-million pound organisation. Clearly, Cllr Pryce shares our view on these key issues.
“No wonder sensible people are still turning their backs on Labour, just as they did in 2010 when they turfed them out of government and elected the first Liberal Democrat MP, Ian Swales, in the Borough. Now, it seems they can’t even keep support within their own party."