Independent Exmouth councillor – who quit district’s ruling group – joins East Devon Alliance

An Exmouth representative, who quit East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) ruling group last year, has announced he has joined the Independent East Devon Alliance.

Councillor Paul Millar said the alliance ‘shares a set of values and a vision that closely represents the mantra he stood for election on’ last May.

Cllr Millar, a ward member for Exmouth Halsdon, had initially been part of the Independent Group that runs the authority, but left in September.

He has since been sitting as an independent.

Cllr Millar said: “The Independent East Devon Alliance group share a set of values and a vision which more closely represent the mantra I stood on last May, especially with regard to how the council ought to be run and doing things differently from the former administration, which too many people seem to forget were voted out.

“I have been assured that, by being part of this political grouping, my ability to think for myself and speak freely, which is part and parcel of being independent, will not be stamped on.

“I will continue to campaign for our taxpayers’ money to be invested in projects that manifestly improve town and village life across the district, rather than shallow vanity projects such as the current plan for Exmouth seafront, which only offers short-term financial gain at the expense of the longer-term sustainability of our communities and the wellbeing of, and choices for, the residents who live within them.”

Cllr Paul Arnott, leader of the Independent East Devon Alliance, added: “Paul has shown courage and integrity as a ward member for Exmouth Halsdon since May 2019, making a leading contribution at district in the fight for democracy, accountability and transparency in the context of a still opaque administration.”

“I hope our experience as Independents and willingness to battle will help both Paul and his constituents. His presence will certainly help us, too.”

Initially 20-strong, the Independent Group is now down to 18 councillors after Exmouth Town representative Cllr Joe Whibley quit last month.

Despite no longer being the largest political party,  the group continues to run the council as a minority administration.

The Conservatives hold 19 seats, the Liberal Democrats eight, the Green Party two, and there is one independent.

The East Devon Alliance now has 12 seats.

As a result of the change in the political balance on EDDC, the next full council meeting on Wednesday, February 26, will be asked to approve changes to committee memberships as they have to be politically balanced.

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