A FORMER Tory and a UKIP councillor have joined together to create a new political group.
The Redditch Democratic Alliance has been put together by Coun Michael Braley, who became an independent councillor after leaving the Conservative party, and Coun Paul Swansborough, who joined Redditch Borough Council in May this year having previously stood in elections as an independent.
The creation of the group sparked a review of the political balance of council committees on Monday (October 20), with the pair now entitled to two places across the licensing, planning and audit, governance and standards meetings.
Coun Braley already sits on the audit, governance and standards committee, Coun Swansborough on the overview and scrutiny committee and one of them will now take a place on the licensing committee.
RDA has also been allocated a group room within the Town Hall, something councillors are not entitled to unless they are aligned to a party with two or more members.
Coun Mike Braley, who is the leader of the new group, said he had no intention of joining UKIP as he was ‘basically still a Conservative’ although he might vote for them, adding: “You could say I didn’t leave the party, the party left me.
“The agreement is really because we get a better representation of places on committees. That was the motivation for this and we will agree I suspect most of the time but sometimes we will disagree.”
Coun Swansborough added: “Both Michael and I will be a formidable force and we intend to investigate further the Labour group’s financial competence to run the council.
“We have no bridges to burn and will always work as a team. Being a local councillor is a big commitment, particularly if you’re in full-time employment so having Michael on board will be a huge benefit to me and the people of Redditch.
“Our sole purpose will be to ensure that our council is run as efficiently, effectively and democratically as possible.”
He added he thought a task group looking into the Tudor Grange Academy proposals was a ‘complete waste of council time and resources’ and wanted to see the creation of Redditch’s first ever grammar school. He also wanted to focus on Local Plan 4 where they felt decisions were being made ‘at high level’ without being properly scrutinised by the relevant councillors.