Fareham Borough Council Conservative councillor leaves party following loyalty dispute

CONSERVATIVE councillor Geoff Fazackarley has left the party over claims of disloyalty and ‘working with the opposition’.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 8:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 10:35 pm
Cllr Geoff Fazackarley (centre), after being elected as Conservative councillor for Fareham South. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland

However Cllr Fazackarley has alleged a serious breakdown over the local running of the party as the reason for leaving - saying there is a culture of intimidation and bullying.

While Cllr Fazackarley remains an elected member of Fareham Borough Council, there is further dispute as to whether he was expelled or resigned from the Conservative Party.

A statement from council leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, said: ‘I am disappointed to have to announce that I have today (March 29) been forced to expel Councillor Geoff Fazackarley as a member of Fareham Conservatives on Fareham Borough Council for his betrayal of the trust of his colleagues.

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Fareham Borough Council leader, Councillor Sean Woodward, said he had expelled Councillor Geoff Fazackarley from the Conservative Party.

‘Cllr Fazackarley has been meeting and working with the opposition Independent Group on the council against the Conservative administration for some time.’

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Having been elected as a Conservative councillor the council leader now believes Cllr Fazackarley should vacate his position on Fareham Borough Council.

Cllr Woodward added: ‘If he sees himself as a member of the Independent Group his most honourable course of action is to immediately resign his council seat to which he was elected as a Conservative and to fight under his new colours in May to see which party the residents of Fareham South wish to have represent them.’

However in a press release sent to The News, Cllr Fazackarley said he had made the decision to ‘go Independent’ after citing he could not ‘continue to serve under the leadership of Cllr Woodward’.

Cllr Fazackarley said: ‘There are many reasons that have led me to this course of action but the main one being the lack of democracy and transparency that surround the current administration.’

He then went on to claim a culture of ‘intimidation and bullying where you cannot freely voice your true opinions without fear of reprisal’.

Cllr Fazackarley added: ‘This is not how councils should be run and I will endeavour to change this. I appreciate I was elected as Conservative and I still hold a lot of Conservative beliefs, but I cannot just continue to serve in the manner that we are told to by the executive leader.

‘Being an Independent councillor will give residents a better service as I will vote against things I don’t believe in.’

Cllr Fazackarley also said other Conservative councillors have left the party to become Independent candidates. The Independent Group was formed in March 2020 by former Conservative councillor Leslie Keeble.

This is not the first time Cllr Fazackarley has changed political allegiances after previously moving to the Tories from his position as a Lib Dem councillor.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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