Three Conservative Councillors in Bradford have left the party, blaming issues with the local Conservative Association.
Luke Majkowski (Queensbury) and Joan Clarke (Wyke) announced this week they would now be continuing their Council duties as independents, joining Councillor Robert Hargreaves (Queensbury), who left the party to become an independent last year.
Cllr Majkowski said it was a decision the trio “did not take lightly” adding: “We came to a situation where we feel we can no longer successfully work with the Bradford Conservative Association.”
The Association is the group of party officials that selects who stands as a Conservative candidate in local elections with the next elections happening in May.
Cllr Majkowski, who was elected last year, as was Cllr Clarke, said the decision was nothing to do with the Conservative Group – which represents Councillors once they are elected.
The news means the Bradford Labour Group has increased its majority on the Council, as the Conservatives held the most seats of any opposition group.
In a post on Facebook yesterday Cllr Majkowski said: “The three of us feel we can no longer work successfully with them (The Bradford Conservative Association).
“We feel we constantly fighting against them and the time and effort spent fire fighting against the Bradford Conservative Association is taking too much time away from carrying on as successful Councillors.”
He said the three of them would continue their Council work “with Conservative values” but separately from the party.
Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, Leader of the Conservative Group on Bradford Council said: “It is sad and disappointing that hard-working Conservative Councillors feel they cannot remain in the Conservative Party due to internal issues specifically within the Bradford South Constituency and will now represent their residents as Independent Councillors.
“All three bring great experience and skills to the role of a District Councillor and will be a loss to the Conservative Group on Bradford Council.
“I know going forward we will work on issues together where our views very much align.”
Keighley MP Robbie Moore and Shipley MP Philip Davies are currently pushing the Government to split the Bradford District into two new authorities, with one Council representing Bradford and the other representing Keighley and Shipley.
Due to the three Councillors stepping away from the party, if this split went ahead today, it would leave just one Conservative Councillor in the new Bradford Authority – Councillor Matthew Bibby (Queensbury).
The Conservative Association has been contacted for a comment.