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Tories welcome Sheppey's last two independents

By Gemma Constable
Cllr Pat Sandle
Cllr Pat Sandle

Two of Sheppey’s independent borough councillors have joined the Conservatives.

The defection of Leysdown and Warden councillor Pat Sandle and Sheppey Central councillor Paul Sturdgess means the Tories have increased their majority to 31.

Labour holds 11 seats and the Lib Dems hold four.

West Downs councillor Monique Bonney is the only remaining independent councillor after Lesley Ingham joined the Tories in October last year.

Cllr Sandle, who was elected to Sheppey First! three years ago said she decided to join the Conservatives so she could achieve more.

She said: “We have the biggest tourist area in Swale over here and we need some help, which we are now getting and hopefully that will go on and make it a lot better at this end of the Island.”

Cllr Sandle’s main concerns for the area are providing services for young and older people.

Cllr Sturdgess said his priorities haven’t changed since he was elected with Sheppey First!

Cllr Paul Sturdgess, who was an independent councillor but has now joined the Conservative group
Cllr Paul Sturdgess, who was an independent councillor but has now joined the Conservative group

He said: “When I came to be a local councillor I didn’t really have a strong view because I didn’t know the local parties.

“But now I have had the time to get to know those groups, I feel my priorities are very similar to those of the Conservatives. I feel I can add more value to the local community.”

Cllr Sturdgess added that his priorities include working on the ward’s reputation for anti-social behaviour and road safety is also an issue.

Cllrs Sandle and Sturdgess announced their decisions at last week’s full council meeting.

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