Friday, August 01, 2008

Maverick Mark quits council...

Just heard that Mark Horn has resigned from with immediate effect as county councillor for Bourne.

Maverick Mark was elected as a Conservative but went Independent last month after a series of fall-outs with the controlling group - and Council Leader Martin Hill in particular.

Notably, he was the only Tory councillor to have the balls to oppose the 78.9 per cent increase in council tax for policing which was pushed through by the Conservative county councillors on the police authority and later capped by Government.

He claimed that the record increase demonstrated arrogance and was totally unjustified - and no doubt incensed Martin Hill when he was the only Tory in the chamber who refused to back moves to prevent the county council debating why the Conservative members of the Authority had supported the eye-watering increase.

Mark had even publicly called for capping - which of course added to internal Conservative party problems and pressure within the controlling group.

Last year, Mark strongly criticised Grantham and Stamford Conservatives choice of candidate at the next general election, describing all those shortlisted as:

wealthy, metropolitan, priviliged, bright young things...totally out of touch with ordinary folk...None of these ‘A-listers’ have any local connections. They are simply careerists looking for a safe seat.
He also stood up strongly for gypsy and traveller rights - and refused to take a populist stance over.

A couple of months ago he accused the Conservatives of losing control of the budget on care homes for elderly people.

I understand that he was recently referred to the Standards Board by Cllr Hill over an exchange of emails with my colleague on the Labour group Chris Burke.

I've 'locked horns' with Mark on numerous occasions in the council chamber - but I respected his outspoken views (most of the time!!) despite them usually being very different to my own. On occasion I've enjoyed a quiet beer or two with Mark when between us we put the world to rights...

Born in South Africa, Mark is a trained London barrister who was clearly too radical and too much of a handful for Lincolnshire Tories who never quite knew how to handle him.

Every time he stood up in a Council debate, it was always entertaining watching the faces of the all-Tory Executive who never knew what was coming next. They tried - but clearly failed - to contain him.

But Mark is also a real character who brought much-needed colour to council debates.

He stood up for what he believed to be right, refused to be 'whipped' by his own political group, and he will be missed by all sides.

I wish him well for the future.

(more later...)

1 comment:

Brynley said...

I was attracted to Mark's assessment of the Standards Board which is still on his blog.

Bugger the Standards Board, he wrote.

And so say all of us.