Labour and Conservatives now tied in city
Control of Plymouth City Council has been forced into a delicate balance after the resignation of another Tory has left Conservatives and Labour with 24 seats each.
Former member of the Tory group and Ham councillor, Stephen Hulme, announced his resignation on Wednesday evening, 7 December, after asking residents in his ward whether he should remain in the party.
Cllr Hulme has 15 months left of his council term before facing re-election and says he will remain as an independent until then.
“I will represent my ward as they want me to represent them,” he said. “So, I’m their voice.”
No one party had an overall majority on Plymouth City Council but the Tory group had the most seats. Cllr Hulme’s resignation now leaves both parties with an equal number of councillors.
Conservatives numbers had already been cut following the resignation of Shannon Burden and Dan Collins who had been urged to step down following concerns they were unable to serve residents effectively after deciding to move to Gloucestershire.
During a vote last month on whether the married couple should be asked to resign, Cllr Hulme was one of only four Conservatives to vote in favour of the motion. All other Tories abstained.
However, Cllr Hulme said his concerns were about residents not feeling they had a voice.
“I don’t think the council listen to the people of Plymouth,” he said. “They need to listen to the people of Plymouth.”
The resignation of Shannon Burden and Dan Collins triggered by-elections in their former wards of Moor View and Plympton Chaddlewood. Voters there will head to the polls on 12 January.
But Cllr Hulme said there was no need to have a vote in January when there will be further elections four months later.
“I think we’re wasting £60,000 of taxpayers' money when we didn’t need to,” he said. “We could have waited until May.”
Cllr Hulme was elected for the Tories in Ham Ward in May 2021 with a majority of 285.