Derbyshire Tory says bullying made her quit party

A Tory councillor has quit the Conservative Party, claiming bullying among the ranks of the North East Derbyshire group has made it a ‘very unpleasant place’.

By Christina Massey
Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 12:56 pm

Following her resignation, Councillor Mo Potts will continue to represent Killamarsh West at North East Derbyshire District Council (NEDDC) as an independent member until the elections in May next year.

In a statement to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, she said: “Unfortunately, I have found the Conservative Party at a local level to be a very unpleasant place.

“There is a minority element within the party, that to achieve their objectives, use bullying to intimidate and control their fellow councillors.

Councillor Mo Potts will continue to represent Killamarsh West at North East Derbyshire District Council (NEDDC) as an independent member until the elections in May next year.

“Sadly, this is tolerated by the party hierarchy, rather than being dealt with.

“I now look forward to being free to speak and vote for what is best for Killamarsh and its residents, rather than what is best for the Conservative Party and the political aspirations of a handful of councillors.”

Deputy Chairman of the North Derbyshire Conservative Association and NEDDC Leader Councillor Alex Dale said he took allegations of bullying ‘very seriously’, however claimed he was unaware of any formal complaint being made.

He said: “We are disappointed that Coun Potts has chosen to take this path, particularly as we offered to meet her on two separate occasions to discuss any concerns she had when she notified us of her intention to resign but did not receive any response.

Councillor Mo Potts

“We have provided support to her previously on a wide variety of issues when she has asked for it, including on social media, so I’m saddened that, for whatever reason, she hasn’t reached out to talk to us before making this decision.

“Clearly, we take any allegations of bullying very seriously.

“As a party and as a council, we have very clear processes in place to deal with formal complaints, but we are not aware of any that have been submitted.

“Therefore it would be very difficult and inappropriate to comment on any allegations made by Coun Potts.

“It’s obviously very sad when colleagues decide they no longer wish to be part of the team but we respect her decision and we thank Coun Potts for her service as a Conservative councillor.

“Our focus will remain on delivering for residents in Killamarsh, with our £1.9m redevelopment of the sports centre, improvements in provision and facilities for young people and our campaign to reopen the Barrow Hill railway line to passengers to help regenerate the village.”

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He added that decisions over whether Coun Potts would retain her positions on the General Licensing Committee and Licensing and Gambling Acts Committee will not be made until the next full council meeting in September.

Coun Potts, who also sits on Killamarsh Parish Council, said she was uncertain at this stage whether she would run for re-election next year.