Lowestoft mayor quits Labour in protest

Mayor of Lowestoft Nick Webb at the unveiling of a commemorative Victoria Cross stone in Lowestoft i

Mayor of Lowestoft Nick Webb at the unveiling of a commemorative Victoria Cross stone in Lowestoft in memory of Claude Castleton. Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

A Labour mayor has stunned his party by resigning the whip in protest at the way the party operates both nationally and in Waveney.

Nick Webb, mayor of Lowestoft.

Nick Webb, mayor of Lowestoft. - Credit: Archant

Fellow councillors and officers at Waveney's Constituency Labour Party (CLP) said they were shocked when Lowestoft mayor Nick Webb and his wife Sarah – also a Labour councillor – resigned on Friday (July 29) evening to become independents.

The pair criticised not only the current disunity within the party at a national level but also the Labour group on Waveney District Council (WDC), saying: 'We're not a credible opposition. We've become no more than a debating group.

'This is not congruent with the objective of making positive changes. Neither the people of this town nor of this country are well served by having an opposition which is irrelevant to the real needs of working people.'

Mr and Mrs Webb said they had done much soul searching over several weeks before finally coming to their decision, claiming Labour in Waveney had 'imploded on ourselves' since nearly taking control of the council in 2011.

'It is not something we've come to lightly,' said Mr Webb, who has been a Labour member since 2000 and a councillor for Whitton ward since 2007.

'I think we can best serve our residents as independents. We should work together we can, putting party politics aside.'

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However Waveney CLP chairman Malcolm Cherry said the first the party was aware of their issues was when a resignation letter arrived in their email inboxes on Friday (July 29) evening.

They said his email made no mention of concerns with local politics, although Mr Webb told the EDP and Lowestoft Journal that was a factor in his decision.

'It's taken us all by surprise,' said Mr Cherry.

'Politics is not a business that's calm and if he had issues, he should've come and seen us to air those so we had a better understanding of where he's coming from.'

The make-up of WDC is 27 Conservative, 18 Labour, two independents and one Green.

What do you think of Nick and Sarah Webb's resignation? Write, giving your full contact details, to andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk