Councillor Linda Batty joins the Conservatives on Gosport Borough Council

Former Labour councillor Linda Batty has joined the Conservatives after being suspended by the Labour party due to her backing for Conservative Councillor Lynn Hook to become mayor next monthFormer Labour councillor Linda Batty has joined the Conservatives after being suspended by the Labour party due to her backing for Conservative Councillor Lynn Hook to become mayor next month.

Linda wanted to officially second the motion backing her friend to become Mayor of Gosport. The Conservative group have supported Labour nominations in the past, with deputy Leader Graham Burgess seconding Labour’s Diane Searle in 2009 and the group backing Labour’s Keith Farr in 2014/5 and again this year for Linda Batty to become Deputy Mayor.

However Labour refused to allow Linda to second the nomination, instead they suspended her from the party.

Mark Hook said he was disappointed at the Labour party’s decision. He said: ‘It’s disappointing what’s happened especially on something that remains apolitical. It’s a shame because all the public wants are politicians who work together.’

Linda then became an independent councillor. After discussions with the leader of the Conservative group Cllr Mark Hook, Linda, who represents Bridgemary South, decided to join the Conservatives.

Linda said: ‘The Labour Party did not want me to second a friend becoming mayor. That is despite Cllr Graham Burgess, a Conservative councillor, seconding a Labour councillor becoming mayor in 2009. I was upset by it but that is the way Labour is. Even though I have changed party, I will do the best for my ward as I have done for the last two years.’

Linda Batty will become deputy mayor at the adjourned full council meeting on 19th May and be mayor in 2017/18. The rules were relaxed by the council to allow Linda Batty to become deputy mayor as normally councillors need to serve for four years.

Cllr Hook added: ‘We are delighted that Linda has joined us. She is a hard working Councillor with an excellent record of working for people of Bridgemary. This year she has a 100% attendance record attending all 30 meetings. She has had a difficult time recently but will now sit amongst friends”