Wakefield Conservative group leader's future in doubt amid deselection reports

Confusion surrounds the political future of Wakefield's Conservative group leader, amid uncomfirmed reports she's been deselected ahead of the local elections.

By David Spereall
Monday, 7th March 2022, 4:47 pm
Updated Monday, 7th March 2022, 4:48 pm

Councillor Nic Stansby was due to stand again as the Tory candidate for Wrenthorpe and Outwood this May, having been a councillor there for the previous four years.

Multiple sources told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) last week that Coun Stansby had been ousted by her own party branch in favour of another candidate and that she had appealed the decision.

But on Monday, Coun Stansby herself said she believed this was not the case.

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Councillor Stansby became group leader last August.

The Morley and Outwood Conservative branch has been contacted and asked for comment to clarify the situation, but it has not responded.

Coun Stansby herself said: "I've not been formally notified of any other candidate.

"As far as I'm aware, no official decision has been made for the Wrenthorpe and Outwood West candidacy.

"An announcement would have been made if it had."

A spokesman for the Conservative group, which holds 17 of the council's 63 seats, has also not responded to requests for comment.

If Coun Stansby is deselected it would effectively force an end to her leadership of the local Tories, which she assumed last August after her predecessor Nadeem Ahmed was ousted in a coup.

The party was similarly quiet on that occasion, with no-one officially confirming news of Coun Ahmed's toppling until nearly three weeks after it happened.

The uncertainty caps off a troubled period for the local Tories, who've been beset by internal squabbles in recent weeks.

Two councillors voted against their own party's alternative budget proposals last Wednesday, after a huge backlash against the suggestion that some streetlights in Wakefield be turned off after midnight to save money.

A source later said there were "massive" divisions in the party, described the situation as a "diabolical shambles" and said that some councillors were "being heard more than others."

Local Democracy Reporting Service