‘Con’ claims over switch

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LEADING councillors have been accused of “conning” the electorate after running as independent councillors in the recent elections - but returning to the Tory party days later.

A row is brewing after Coun Tommy Threlfall and Coun Trevor Fiddler were given back their positions on the ruling party’s cabinet.

Their actions have been slammed by Fylde Council’s opposition leader Coun Liz Oades and Coun Louis Rigby, who represents the same Freckleton West ward as Coun Fiddler, who accused them of misleading voters.

Coun Oades said: “I think it’s deception. They should have the strength of their convictions to stand as Conservatives.

“I’m extremely disappointed and believe it should be made illegal to do what they’ve done.”

It is not the first time Coun Threlfall, who represents Freckleton East, and Coun Fiddler have switched parties following the election.

Coun Rigby said: “They have misled the electorate. A lot of people are angry. People are telling me they wouldn’t have voted for them if they had known what they were going to do.

“They did it last time and I think people had more or less forgiven them for it, but it’s a sad state of affairs if you can’t stand for what you believe in.”

The councillors’ decision to return to the Conservative group means the ruling party now has a majority of five, not the one they had when results were announced.

They both stood against Conservative candidates in the election, but the council’s leader Coun David Eaves has defended their actions.

He said: “Is this election any different from what’s happened in 2003 and 2007? The answer is no.

“Coun Threlfall and Coun Fiddler are widely known within the Freckleton ward as Conservatives. They topped the poll in both areas of Freckleton and are well-known and respected.

“They will serve the residents of Fylde to the best of their ability.”

Coun Threlfall told The Gazette the election results “spoke for themselves”.

He said: “I just stood as Tommy Threlfall. I work hard for the people of the borough. People keep trying to make a big issue but the election results speak for themselves.”

Freckleton resident Andrew Lee, who runs the village Spar shop, was quick to defend the councillors.

He said: “I think Trevor and Tommy are great people and they do a lot for this village. Freckleton would be a sad place without them.”

But Harry Robinson, from the Village Memorial Hall Charity, said: “I think people in the village will feel they are being conned. They’ve not been really honest with the electorate.”