Wyre Council rocked as Conservative leader axed

Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council
Coun Peter Gibson, leader of Wyre Borough Council

Wyre Council has been rocked after the Conservative leader was ousted from his position by his own party.

Conservatives claim they have reluctantly taken the decision to vote Coun Peter Gibson off as leader at a meeting last week because they claim he is no longer in a fit position to lead the council, with 34 out of 36 in favour of the move.

The issue centres around concerns that Coun Gibson appeared to be “unable to take a meeting” at the council earlier this month.

The councillor, a diabetic, has accused the group of cowardice for making the decision at a time when they knew he would be taking a holiday in Portugal this week, which meant he cannot attend tomorrow’s full council meeting when the agreement will be finalised.

But Coun Alan Vincent denies the claims about the timing and said the group made the decision for the good of the council.

The move follows a decision by Coun Gibson to have Coun Vincent and Coun Peter Murphy removed from the cabinet two weeks ago.

Fleetwood man Coun Vincent will now take over the interim leadership of the council until a meeting to select the new leader will be held on December 7. But Coun Vincent insists he will not be standing for the leadership himself.

Coun Gibson, who has been a councillor for Poulton’s Breck ward for seven years and leader for seven years, said: “I just think it is cowardice because they knew about the holiday, my diary is open for everyone to see.

“The holiday is paid for and I can’t change it.

“It didn’t come as a shock, I knew they were planning to do something like this.

“As far as I am concerned they are taking advantage of my health problems because they just wanted to get rid of me and put someone else in place.”

He added: “In 10 years I have missed just one meeting – Coun Vincent has missed much more.

“I suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure and these are now affecting me, but I don’t believe they affect my role as leader and as a councillor.”

The Poulton councillor said he intended to stay on as a councillor but would take the decision later whether to become an independent member.

Coun Vincent said: “Coun Gibson has been a very good leader but we believe he is no longer in a fit position to take on that role.

“On June 15 his performance was suffering for all to see.

“We spoke to him about and advised him to take a rest and perhaps get the right help for his condition but when he came back and attended the September full council meeting, he appeared to be unable to take the meeting.

“We have tried to help him but we reluctantly took this decision for the good of the council.”

He added: “The timing of his holiday was nothing to do with it, I was not even aware he was going on holiday.”

Wyre Council itself declined to comment.

Wyre’s Labour group has raised concerns about the conflict in the leadership and the handling of the matter, stating it reflects badly on the council as a whole.