Tories can win back majority as Peterborough city councillor resigns due to illness
A Peterborough city councillor has given up his seat because of the exhaustion of caring for his wife who has dementia.
Former headteacher John Shearman, a Labour member for Park ward, said combining his duties as a carer with those of a councillor had left him “physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted” and “seriously ill.”
He added: “Given this situation I believe it is best to stand aside and let someone else be elected to this role.
“It has been a privilege to serve as a councillor for the residents of Park Ward, and I hope that in some small way, supported by my colleague Councillor Richard Ferris and other members of our team, I have been able to improve the quality of life for everyone in the ward.
“It has also been a privilege to work with so many committed employees of the council, its partner organisations and the police, since I was first elected in 2011, as well as members of various voluntary groups, religious organisations and educational establishments in Park ward.”
The resignation adds another twist to the power struggle at Peterborough City Council, where the Conservatives can now win back their majority should they triumph in by-elections in Park Ward and Eye, Thorney and Newborough, which also has a vacant seat.
Currently, the Tories hold 29 of the 58 council seats, with two vacancies to fill.
Dad of two Mr Shearman was the headteacher at Beeches School for 15 years and was responsible for the formation of the Victoria Park Residents Association in 2010.
Council leader Cllr John Holdich said: “I worked with John for many years as the former head of a city school, and I always found him a very fair person to deal with.”
Labour group leader Cllr Ed Murphy said Mr Shearman was responsible for the party winning the Peterborough constituency at this month’s general election.
He told Mr Shearman: “Thank you for all your hard work and diligence as a councillor and a brilliant Labour activist. I’m sorry that you have been unwell. I do hope that you are able to get on the road to recovery.”
MP for Peterborough Fiona Onasanya said: “I am sorry to hear John’s health has had this impact and very much regret his resignation, though I fully sympathise with his reasons for doing so.
“He is well known throughout Peterborough for his commitment to public service and the care he’s extended to the people of Park ward.
“I wish him all the best in the future.”