Questions remain unanswered after a Central Bedfordshire councillor for Leighton Buzzard quit the Conservative group to serve as an independent representative.
Cllr Roy Johnstone has been a CBC councillor since its formation in 2009 and prior to that served on South Bedfordshire District Council, as well as Leighton Linslade Town Council until 2015.
It has now come to light that after many years of service, Cllr Johnstone – once described in the LBO as a “veteran Tory” – has quit the party group to serve as an independent. He will still be eligible for councillor expenses of around £11,000.
A fellow councillor told the LBO that group members were informed of Cllr Johnstone’s decision after it was published by the Conservative group leader at CBC, Cllr James Jamieson, but no further explanation had been given.
It was while standing as a Conservative Party candidate in the most recent election of 2015 that Cllr Johnstone won 3,509 votes (18.74%) to become one of the three representatives for Leighton Buzzard North ward. The LBO has had no response from Cllr Johnstone after repeated attempts to make contact.
Despite making Conservative councillors aware of Cllr Johnstone’s decision, Cllr Jamieson told the LBO he was “unable to help on this matter”.
Although the Conservatives have lost a member, they still have a vice-like grip on the council with 52 Tories out of the 59 councillors.