York & North Yorkshire

Ex-Conservative council chairman becomes Independent

Councillor John Savage
Image caption Mr Savage is an opponent of a "costly" waste strategy plan

A former chairman of North Yorkshire County Council says he has quit the Conservative group because his position has been made "intolerable".

Councillor John Savage will continue to represent the Ainsty Division and Marston Moor, Harrogate.

North Yorkshire County Council said Mr Savage was now free from the party whip, and was therefore classed as an Independent councillor.

Mr Savage said he had not resigned from the national party.

Mr Savage, who was chairman of the county council from June 2009 to May 2010, said: "I have deep misgivings about the financial cuts nationally and their follow-through in the county which will discriminate against the hard-working, lower-paid members of society.

"The government should be taxing those responsible for the large part of the mess we are in; namely the bankers. I am sure there are other Conservatives who will 'wait and see'."

Despite his resignation from the Conservative group at North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council, he said he would remain a member of the Conservative Party.

'Costly contract'

"It just means I'm not bound by their policies. I can now express my views."

He added that it was with very mixed emotions that he had made his decision, but explained that the "antics of the Conservative group" had made his position "intolerable".

A spokesman for North Yorkshire County Council confirmed Mr Savage had resigned the whip for North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council and no longer represented the Conservatives.

Mr Savage has been a leading opponent of North Yorkshire County Council's proposed multi-million pound waste strategy plan.

It wants to develop a waste incinerator close to Knaresborough and Harrogate.

Mr Savage believes this would result in "the largest, most costly contract that the council has ever awarded".

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