Chellaston councillor 'shocked' after being dumped by party for next May's elections

This post first appeared on Derby Telegraph. Read the original article.

A Derby city councillor has said he has been left “heartbroken, humiliated and shocked” after not being reselected to stand again in the ward he has represented for more than 11 years.

Phil Ingall, who remains as councillor for Chellaston ward until next May, was told by the Chellaston and Shelton Lock Conservative branch he would not be put forward as the candidate in next year’s city council elections at a selection meeting last week.

The selection process is overseen by Mid Derbyshire and Derby Conservative Association, of which Chellaston and Shelton Lock is a branch. But it has nothing to do with the Derby City Council Conservative Group, whose leader is Councillor Matthew Holmes.

Mr Ingall said: “I have been given no explanation as to why I was not selected. I have just come off the back of supporting a successful campaign to date to stop a Lidl development in the centre of Chellaston and am heavily involved in a controversial scout hut development.

“My speech at the selection process was all about local issues, which as a resident of the village, have always been most important to me.

“I was deselected by about 20 people, some of whom I did not know, and feel that it is a particularly difficult political time both nationally and locally for the party to do this. This could make this a marginal ward again.”

Councillor, Phil Ingall, right, shakes hands with former Tory leader Philip Hickson, after he defected to the Conservatives, with Harvey Jennings, former deputy leader.

Councillor, Phil Ingall, right, shakes hands with former Tory leader Philip Hickson, after he defected to the Conservatives, with Harvey Jennings, former deputy leader.

Mr Ingall, 45, is adamant that he has “done nothing wrong” and is determined to continue representing Chellaston people’s interests until next May.

He added: “I have always been humbled to be elected by people every time and it is a real privilege to represent residents of Chellaston and I have always put them first.

“I work really hard for people and I am gob-smacked to be treated in this way. I could never dream of contesting another seat because I believe in representing the place where you live.

“It’s heartening for me to have received sympathetic messages from councillors in other parties since this happened.”

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Mr Ingall first joined Derby City Council as a Labour councillor in 2006 before defecting to the Tories in 2008.

Mr Holmes said that Mr Ingall “remained a valued member" of the Tory group on the council. He said: “Conservative party candidates, their selection and management is entirely the responsibility of the Conservative association, its officers and local membership.

“The Derby City Conservative Council group has no involvement in that and from our point of view, Mr Ingall remains a Conservative councillor and valued member our group.

“He received his mandate from local residents in 2014 to serve for four years and that's what he will do.”

Gill Donaldson, chairman of the Chellaston and Shelton Lock Conservative branch, said: "Under the strict, democratic selection rules of the Conservative Party, all sitting councillors must re apply and be interviewed at the end of their four year tenure. Sitting councillors are not automatically reselected.

"Anyone on the approved local candidates list of the party can stand against a sitting councillor.

"In wards where there are more than 15 party members, as is the case in the Chellaston and Shelton Lock ward, there has to be a selection meeting to choose the candidate for the next local election. The sitting councillor is automatically entitled to be interviewed.

"There were 20 party members present at our recent selection meeting, three candidates were interviewed and a new candidate was selected by more than 50% of the members."

The candidate selected was Ross McCristal, who previously stood unsuccessfully in Normanton and Arboretum wards for the Conservatives.