The Conservative leader of Harborough District Council Blake Pain has announced his resignation in a shock move at tonight’s (Mon) Full Council meeting.
The announcement comes as a result of frank behind-the scenes discussions with his own Conservative councillors, the Mail understands.
“My Group has decided that they want to take a different direction, a new approach, under a new leader” he told fellow councillors at the meeting.
He later added to the Mail: “Politics is politics - there’s no bitterness.”
Signs of strain within the ruling Conservative group on the council were evident in July, when half a dozen Conservative councillors criticised their own leadership in a public meeting.
They claimed that council funds were distributed unevenly round the district, with Market Harborough getting more than its fair share. A council team is now looking into the claim.
Cllr Pain’s decisive resignation means a new leader has yet to be chosen by the Conservative group. He will remain as Leader until the appointment of a successor.
Cllr Pain has led the council for four-and-a-half years, but said “the time has come for the baton to be passed on to a new leader”.
He told councillors: “Under my leadership, we have become a far more strategic council, punching well above our weight.
He said the council had “sound finances with low council tax” and “presided over a growing local economy with a low level of unemployment”.
He said Harborough was now “one of the best communities in the country in which to live, do business and raise a family”.