Conservative councillor Rowena Edmondson quits the group at Preston City Council saying she has no faith in the party’s group leader

Coun Rowena Edmondson
Coun Rowena Edmondson
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A second councillor has quit the Conservative group at Preston City Council saying she has no faith in the party’s group leader.

Coun Rowena Edmondson opted to become an independent Conservative as of Wednesday, August 1.

Her resignation follows coun Lona Smith’s who threw in the towel towards the end of July for reasons which she has not yet disclosed.

Coun Edmondson, who represents Greyfriars Ward, said: “I have resigned from the Conservative Group on Preston City Council as I have absolutely no faith in a leader who has already presided over the loss of two conservative seats in Fulwood in last May’s local election.

“Matters came to a head when I was de-selected as a Conservative Candidate for the May 2019 local election, without any reasons being given, and with having no support whatsoever from the leader and deputy leader, my position within the group has become untenable.

“I will now sit as an Independent Conservative for the remainder of my term.

“I will continue to work hard, as I have done for the last three and a half years, for the residents of Greyfriars, where I have lived for many years.”

Coun Neil Cartwright, leader of the Conservative group, was not available for a comment but deputy leader Stephen Thompson told the Post that strictly speaking coun Edmondson had not been deselected, she had not been approved as a candidate for the local election in 2019.

He said: “It’s party business and it being dealt with by the party at the moment.”

The Conservative group now has 15 councillors, Labour has 35 and the Liberal Democrat group has five.

It comes ahead of next year’s local election which will see changes to ward boundaries in the area meaning the overall number of councillors will drop by nine.

Coun Thompson said: “What’s happening next year is that there’s new boundaries so all candidates will have to go through the process and everybody will be out. All the wards will be up for election.”

The Post has approached Lona Smith, who represents the Preston Rural North ward, for a statement.