A WINCHESTER city councillor has left the conservatives to better serve the residents of her ward.

Councillor Sue Cook has represented the Colden Common and Twyford ward as a Conservative since 2015 but has decided to leave the party so to vote for what is important to residents.

The council representative, who is known to knock on residents’ doors to rally their support and find out what they would like to see happen in local government, believes it's about the people, not the party.

The move means Cllr Cook will no longer be able to sit on committees such as planning, scrutiny, performance panel and health and environment.

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Cllr Cook, who has lived in Twyford for nearly 30 years, said: “This will make no difference to my commitment and energy. Some may say I do things a little different but last year I bucked the national trend and came home with a win and an increased majority.

“I wanted to become a councillor to make a difference. My priority has always been to serve the residents within my ward.

“My position within the party needed to come to an end as it was becoming increasingly obvious to me that at this level of council representation you need to vote with what is important to your ward and not always with others.

“Many people said to me 'Sue we are voting for you not your party' and that gave me even more will power to keep going. I cannot deny it wasn’t easy.

“We shouldn’t be party driven, it’s the person at the end of the phone, email or in the street when they ask for assistance - it’s either Cllr Bronk or myself and we share the responsibility.

“It would give me so much pleasure to see other councillors working collaboratively as we do as I’m sure that Winchester City Council and other councils would make more progress rather than spending time making it difficult for the opposition and not actually discuss and get on with the matter in hand.

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“We don’t have that situation in Colden Common and Twyford. We work together for the good of the two villages and our residents who voted for us.

“I will remain totally up to date on the major projects that are crucial to the future of Winchester and I look forward to working in a non-party political way, constructively with all the political parties to advance the best interests of residents.”

Winchester’s leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Caroline Horrill, was asked whether she support Cook’s decision. Cllr Horrill said: “I wish Sue well in her future work as a councillor.”

Cllr Cook is now one of three Independent city councillors including Cllr Victoria Weston and Cllr Judith Clementson.