Mayor in waiting could be deposed after leaving Havant Tory party

From left, deputy mayor of Havant Elaine Shimbart, new mayor Faith Ponsonby her consort Michael Ponsonby and deputy mayor's consort Gerald Shimbart

Picture: Sarah Standing (160672-7868)
From left, deputy mayor of Havant Elaine Shimbart, new mayor Faith Ponsonby her consort Michael Ponsonby and deputy mayor's consort Gerald Shimbart Picture: Sarah Standing (160672-7868)
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  • Shimbarts say they are ‘disillusioned’ with local politics
  • Conservative leader says members will take a vote on who they want to be Havant’s mayor in the autumn
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CONSERVATIVES could vote out a mayor-in-waiting after she left the party to become independent.

Councillor Elaine Shimbart and her husband Cllr Gerald Shimbart, who both represent Hart Plain ward, have caused ripples in Havant politics by leaving the Conservative party to become independent.

Elaine is the current deputy mayor, having been voted in by her Conservative colleagues, who hold a large majority at Havant Borough Council.

Elaine is due to become mayor next May, but her position could now be in jeopardy.

The Conservative group could choose another candidate in the autumn and then vote out Elaine at the mayor-making ceremony in May.

But Elaine, a councillor for nine years, told The News that mayoral duties were apolitical.

She said: ‘The role of mayor has nothing to do with politics. You are not promoting your party.’

Gerald said: ‘If they decide to put up another candidate, it would be unprecedented.

‘It would create an atmosphere at the annual council meeting that is not conducive to helping the borough at all.’

Elaine explained their reasons for leaving the Conservatives.

She said: ‘We feel people like George Osborne and David Cameron, because of their backgrounds, don’t really know what it’s like in the real world, through no fault of their own.

‘I don’t think they understand the problems of ordinary folk.

‘I think we are both disillusioned with local politics as well. There’s been a lot going on.’

Councillor Mike Cheshire, leader of the Conservatives, said: ‘The next year’s mayor will be discussed by the Conservative group in the autumn.

‘I can’t pre-empt what the Conservative group will do when it comes to electing the mayor. It’s up to the group. I will vote as I see fit.’

He said he was ‘disappointed’ that the Shimbarts had decided to leave the Conservatives.