Tory couple stand down as they sell luxury B&B and quit Staffordshire

Two Newcastle borough councillors have resigned - as they are moving house. Conservative councillors Simon White and his husband Gary have represented Madeley on Newcastle Borough Council for 12 and eight years respectively.

But they have both now stood down, due to their move from Madeley to Market Drayton. They say they would not 'in good conscience' be able to represent the Madeley and Betley ward 'from a distance'.

A by-election to fill the vacant seats on the borough council is now expected to take place on the same day as the general election on July 4. The Whites had lived in the historic Old Hall in Madeley since 2007, opening it as a luxury bed and breakfast two years later, but they have now sold the property.

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In a Facebook post, Simon said: "We have been representing Madeley and Betley on Newcastle-Under-Lyme Borough Council for the last 10 years and more. Yesterday we had to make the difficult decision to step down as your elected councillors.

"As some of you will be aware, we have sold our home and business of the Old Hall and have purchased a period property in Market Drayton which will purely be our home. We have always given 100 per cent in representing our communities and do not believe with a clear conscience we can do this from a distance

"Our decision was brought forward by the PM calling the General Election, also to save cost it is only right we have the by election for our ward on the same date. Myself and Gary have thoroughly enjoyed our time both living in Madeley and representing the ward including Betley

"We have made many great friends and we will continue to watch with affection the community flourish and will be regular visitors back to the area in the future."

Both the Whites were previously independent councillors but joined the borough council's ruling Conservative group in 2021. Simon was first elected as a Liberal Democrat in 2012, and later joined Labour before becoming an independent. Gary was first elected as an independent in 2016.

Both retained their seats as Conservative candidates in the 2022 local elections. Simon completed his third term as Mayor of Newcastle earlier this month.

Council leader Simon Tagg said: "I would like to thank, personally and on behalf of the Conservative group, Simon and Gary for their support over many years and for their work as councillors for the communities in Madeley and Betley and the wide borough. I wish them all the best in the future."

The resignations leave the Conservative group with 23 councillors, which is still a majority on the 44-seat authority. The opposition Labour group has 18 councillors, with one independent.

Until new ward councillors are elected, anyone with queries about Madeley and Betley ward should contact council leader Simon Tagg on 01782 742650 or email simon.tagg@newcastle-staffs.gov.uk

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