Power shift after defection by North Kesteven councillor

The balance of power is shifting in favour of the controlling NK Administration Group on North Kesteven District Council.

Coun Mary Green, member for Bassingham and Brant Broughton. EMN-220303-143753001
Coun Mary Green, member for Bassingham and Brant Broughton. EMN-220303-143753001

Coun Mary Green, one of two members representing Bassingham and Brant Broughton Ward, was elected to the authority as an NK Independent in 2019, alongside fellow NK Independent Chris Spray deposing the two Conservative incumbents, Pat Woodman and Sue Howe.

However, since then a by-election last May saw Coun Spray replaced by Conservative Russell Eckert who joined the NK Administration Group, which is predominantly made up of Tory members.

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Now Chief Executive Ian Fytche has been notified that Coun Green has resigned from the NK Independent Group and joined the NK Administration Group too.

North Kesteven District Council's offices in Sleaford.

On Friday another Skellingthorpe Councillor Richard Johnston, announced he was switching from the Lincolnshire Independents, having been elected to jointly represent the ward in 2018 in a by-election.

The 43-seat NKDC membership now comprises 31 NK Administration Group councillors compared to 10 NK Independents Group (made up of Lincolnshire Independents and Independents). In addition, there are two members who are politically unaligned.

The full council meets tomorrow (Thursday) when they will be advised that this change has triggered an urgent review of the political balance of the committee structure to make sure it proportionately reflects the overall sizes of the two groups on the council.

Members are recommended to note the switch of allegiance by Coun Green and that the political numbers on committees will change until the end of the council year in April.

In the report to council, it reminds members: “Achieving political balance can sometimes be a complex process which requires a compromise to be made between sets of calculations.

“Each political group is responsible for allocating seats to individual members of its group. The council’s long-standing approach has been to give the unaligned members a seat allocation for planning and scrutiny. There is nothing that

prevents a political group from gifting a seat to another member or group.”

Group Leaders will be invited to advise the Chief Executive of the changes they wish to make on the council’s committees.

It has been recommended that the NK Independents give up one seat to the NK Administration Group on each of three committees - the Planning Committee, Eastgate Planning Sub-Committee and the Communities and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Panel.