Rotherham Tories lose former leader at town hall after she creates new group

Rotherham Town Hall.Rotherham Town Hall.
Rotherham Town Hall.
In a major shake-up, a former Conservative leader at Rotherham Town Hall has quit and created a new group while a ward councillor is under an internal investigation.

A couple of hours before the first council meeting in the new municipal year in Rotherham, the biggest opposition party, the Conservatives have lost three councillors due to different reasons.

Cllr Emily Barley and Cllr Jill Thompson have announced that they would quit the group and become the first members of the newly formed “Independent Conservative Group”.

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Cllr Barley is a former leader of the opposition at town hall and she only stepped down after the death of her baby daughter during labour.

In slightly different circumstances but the Tories could lose another member – Cllr Charlie Wooding (Dinnington).

The Local Democracy Service was told that there was an internal investigation into Cllr Wooding’s attendance by the local party.

Cllr Simon Ball, the leader of the opposition at Rotherham Council, said: “Cllr Emily Barley and Cllr Jill Thompson will be expelled from the Conservative Party.

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“I would like to thank Cllr Barley for all she has put into the Rotherham Conservative Group and I wish her well.

“Cllr Charlie Wooding is classed as an Independent councillor until my investigation (for attendance) is concluded – which can take up to 21 days.”

The Conservatives jumped from zero seats to 20 seats after the local elections in 2021 – however, they have now lost six councillors in the last two years.

Cllr Barley, Cllr Thompson and Cllr Wooding were approached for a comment.