THE outgoing Mayor of Kidderminster has sensationally resigned from Wyre Forest Conservative Party, just days after completing his year in office.

John Aston claimed he was “stabbed in the back” by party colleagues who reneged on a decision to elect him vice chairman of Wyre Forest District Council for the coming 12 months.

The Aggborough and Spennells councillor, who completed his mayoral duties last week, said he was left with no choice but to leave the Tory group after nine years.

He said he was the only nominee for the district vice-chairman’s role when Tory party members met earlier this month and it was accepted and minuted that he would take up the position.

But in a phone call an hour after the meeting ended, Mr Aston said he was told that fellow councillor Dan McCann had been put forward for the position instead. 

Mr McCann was duly elected vice chairman at the annual meeting of the council on May 15.

Speaking exclusively to The Shuttle about quitting the party, Mr Aston said: “[Leader] John Campion asked were there any more nominations to be considered at the meeting and no-one else put their name forward.

“He said I would be the next vice chairman of Wyre Forest District Council. After the meeting, a group of them got together and suddenly Dan McCann was nominated. It was a stitch-up and I feel it was totally out of order.

“I felt I was stabbed in the back and that I had not got the support of the party. I can’t go along with backstabbers.”

He added: “Dan McCann was at the meeting and should have put forward his nomination at the time and not after the meeting had finished, if that is how it happened.”

Mr Aston, who has now become an Independent, added his resignation was “nothing to do with not getting the vice chairman’s job” but about the “unethical”way the Conservative group went about it.

He explained the incident was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”
as he had disagreed with some of the group’s policies for some time.

He said he had grown sick of the “jobs for the boys” mentality and the “clique who had been in power for years”.

“I feel very said that it had to come to this after such a brilliant year as
mayor,” Mr Aston said.

“But I will still continue to support my constituents and do all I can for them.”

Mr Campion blamed the fact that Mr Aston did not get the vice-chairman position as his reason for leaving the party.

“I am sorry that he is upset that he wasn’t nominated for the job he
wanted, but as councillors we are here to serve our community rather
than worry about what job we get nominated for,” he said.

“I wish him well for the future.”

Helen Dyke, of the Independent Group, confirmed Mr Aston had
approached her tojoin the group.

“We have explained to John we would have to consult with all the
volunteers that give up their time to help us and ask for their views
before making any decision about him joining our group,” she said.

Mr Aston’s resignation means the Conservatives now hold 20 of the 42
seats on the district council and run the authority as a minority administration.