The Mayor of Grantham and his deputy are considering their political futures after failing to be selected as Labour candidates for the next district elections in May.
Mayor Coun Ian Selby and Deputy Mayor Coun Bruce Wells were de-selected at a meeting on Wednesday night and will not stand as Labour candidates in the Harrowby ward at district elections in May.
Coun Mark Ashberry, who currently represents the ward with Couns Selby and Wells, was selected together with Sue Orwin, who works in the NHS and is a Unison representative.
Couns Selby and Wells both say they are considering their futures and have not yet decided what option they will take.
Coun Selby, 51, who has been a councillor in Grantham for nearly 20 years, said: “It’s the most bizarre decision I have ever heard in politics. I guess that’s politics for you, it happens. As Forrest Gump said: ‘Stupid is as Stupid does’.
“In nearly 20 years as a councillor I’ve always tried to do the right thing for the people I represent. I believe that things happen for a reason, and maybe it’s time for me to move on. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise for me especially after the way I have been treated in the last four years by certain members of the local Labour Party. I do feel very let down by them. But I’m not bitter about it, instead I’m now feeling a great sense of relief.
“My very good friend Bruce Wells is a thoroughly decent and honest man and I really feel for him that he has not been selected as a Labour Party candidate in the ward where he lives. It is so unfair on Bruce. Whilst Bruce and I abided by party rules, mud was continually thrown about us. At the end of the day it is the local residents that will decide if Bruce should become the next Mayor and who becomes a councillor.
“The people of this town are my priority and I’ve got a job to do as the Mayor and I want to finish it in the manner I have undertaken it so far, and that is with commitment and dedication for the people, and in a non party political manner.
“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the residents of the Harrowby ward who have supported me in the past. They are wonderful people and it is because of them that I have had the opportunity to become the Mayor of Grantham and I will always be thankful to them. I hope I have repaid them by always giving 100 per cent in my role as the Mayor.
“I may have been deselected, but never mind, as Shakespeare once said: ‘nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so’. He also said: ‘no legacy is as rich as honesty’.
Ar a result of changes by the Boundary Commission the Harrowby ward is losing one of its three seats.
Coun Wells, 58, who became a councillor in 2011, holds the post of Deputy Lead for UNISON in the East Midlands.
He said yesterday he was still in shock at being deselected. He said it would be difficult to stand in another ward because he had lived in Harrowby for 44 years . He also said it would be difficult to stand under another banner because he had been voted in as a Labour candidate.
Coun Wells added: “I feel I would be letting the people of Harrowby down. I want to thank them for voting for me and thank them from the bottom of my heart for all their support. I also thank Ian for his support and the advice he has given me. I could not have had a better running councillor and a mate.”
In a joint statement, Coun Ashberry and Sue Orwin said: “We are very pleased to have been selected as Labour candidates in Harrowby ward for the forthcoming South Kesteven District Council elections. We look forward to taking Labour’s message to residents and hopefully representing Harrowby ward over the next four years.”