Six Conservative councillors due for re-election not standing again in May

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Group leader Wayne Fitzgerald says the Conservatives have a tough run at this year’s local elections regardless

Six Conservative councillors due for re-election in Peterborough won’t be standing again in May.

Councillors Muhammad Asif (Park), Graham Casey (Orton Longueville), David Over (Barnack), Oliver Sainsbury (Fletton and Stanground), Nigel Simons (Eye, Thorney and Newborough) and Nicolle Trust (Hargate and Hempsted).

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All say they’re stepping down for personal reasons; largely to retire or to continue their career outside the council.

Graham Casey, Muhammad Asif, David Over, Oliver Sainsbury, Nigel Simons and Nicolle TrustGraham Casey, Muhammad Asif, David Over, Oliver Sainsbury, Nigel Simons and Nicolle Trust
Graham Casey, Muhammad Asif, David Over, Oliver Sainsbury, Nigel Simons and Nicolle Trust

Group leader Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald (West) said he’s “grateful for their service”.

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Labour councillor Mohammed Haseeb to step down at local elections

“It’s a shame when any councillor decides to withdraw from the fray, but I respect their decisions,” he added. “Their reasons are varied and they’re all genuine decisions.”

“They remain party activists and campaigners and will no doubt be helping in this year’s elections.”

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The Conservatives have the most seats up for election this year (14), while Peterborough First have four, Labour two and the Liberal Democrats one. Independent Kirsty Knight (Orton Waterville) is also up for-re-election, having left the Greens last month.

Peterborough City Council (PCC) holds its elections by thirds: not every council seat is up for re-election each year, but there is roughly one in each ward.

There will be two votes for Werrington, though, as Peterborough First’s Stephen Lane has stepped down part way through his term.

Cllr Fitzgerald told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he doesn’t expect the Conservatives to lead the council after May.

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He added you should “never say never” to the group ruling as a minority as it has done previously, but that he believes it’s more likely there’ll be a Labour and Liberal Democrat coalition.

There are currently 22 Conservative councillors: the group remains the largest on PCC, although it has not been in control of the council since a vote of no confidence in Cllr Fitzgerald in November last year.

Cllr Asif said "personal commitments" mean he'll be stepping down, including running a business and parenting. Having been elected to the seat left vacant by former Labour group leader Shaz Nawaz after he resigned three years into his four year term, he served a single year on the council.

Cllr Casey said he’s retiring, will spend more time with his one-year-old granddaughter, and will also spend more time focussing on music. He was first elected in 2011.

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Cllr Over, who was first elected in 1996, says it’s “time to let others have the chance to give a new perspective to the elected role”.

Cllr Sainsbury, at 22 years old, says he’s recently started studying a business degree at university and will focus on that.

Cllr Simons said he has moved out of Peterborough into Lincolnshire and while he owns a house in his ward and works in the city, says he doesn’t feel it’s right to continue serving.

He also said health issues mean he’s not up for going door-to-door campaigning this year and that his wife has retired so it seemed like the right time.

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Cllr Simons added that the political situation in Peterborough, of ex-Conservatives criticising Conservatives, was also another small factor in his decision, while the council’s financial situation is “frustrating”.

Cllr Trust declined to comment but her standing down is also believed to be for personal reasons.

Meanwhile, Cllr Jackie Allen (Conservatives, East) will be running again in Orton Waterville, having previously said she would step down from the council altogether.

Seven current Peterborough councillors will step down at the elections in total.

The other is Cllr Mohammed Haseeb (Labour, North), who has also cited personal reasons.

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