Ripon Independent councillor Andrew Williams joins Tory alliance
Last updated Jul 2, 2023
Andrew Williams, pictured when he was elected last year.

Ripon Independent councillor Andrew Williams has formed a political alliance with the Conservatives on North Yorkshire Council.

Cllr Williams, who is also the leader of Ripon City Council, is one of three independents to become members of a new Conservatives and Independents Group, which was announced today.

The Stray Ferret reported yesterday the Conservatives were wooing independents to maintain their grip on power. This month’s defection of Cllr Mike Jordan left them with precisely half of 90 seats on the council.

A statement by the Conservatives this morning said the party had been reaching out to other members in the wake of Cllr Jordan’s defection “to secure the stable and sustainable governance of North Yorkshire Council for the benefit of its residents”.

Carl Les

Cllr Carl Les

Carl Les, the Conservative council leader, said:

“Each of them have put stable and sensible decision-making at the top of their agenda since the elections last May, and as such we have agreed a common purpose.

“It is important that following local government reorganisation our staff feel secure in a well managed authority with clear policies in place.

“We will work together to achieve the sustainable and stable political direction this authority deserves, as indeed we have from last May.”

Cllr Williams was elected to North Yorkshire Council in last year’s local elections with 1,453 votes, ahead of the Liberal Democrat candidate, who received 334 votes. The Conservative candidate was third with 312 votes.

The other independents to join the new group are Cllr Caroline Goodrick, who represents Sheriff Hutton and Derwent and Cllr Robert Heseltine.

(from left): Cllrs Heseltine, Williams and Goodrick

Cllr Williams is one of nine members of an Independents group. The other two to join are unaffiliated independents.

It is unclear the extent to which they will collaborate with the Tories.

Today’s statement said all three will continue to serve as independents.

However, the group is widely regarded as a way of shoring up support to the Conservatives in the period until the next North Yorkshire elections in 2028.

The Stray Ferret has attempted to contact Cllr Williams for further details of the arrangement.

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