Long-standing Corby Tory quits party, fires parting shot, and crosses floor to join Labour

Cllr David Sims with NNC group leader elect Cllr Matt Keane at NNC HQ in CorbyCllr David Sims with NNC group leader elect Cllr Matt Keane at NNC HQ in Corby
Cllr David Sims with NNC group leader elect Cllr Matt Keane at NNC HQ in Corby
Councillor David Sims issued a bruising statement saying Tories are ‘neglecting’ Corby

A Conservative stalwart has quit his party and joined the Labour group on North Northants Council.

Former Corby Borough Council conservative group leader Councillor David Sims announced this afternoon (Saturday, May 20) that he had joined the Labour group, bringing their total number of councillors to 16. He will continue to represent his Corby Rural ward. There are now only two Tory councillors left in the old Corby borough – Cllr Kevin Watt and Cllr Macaulay Nichol.

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Tory councillors were not informed of the move in advance and were only alerted to the trouble ahead when Cllr Sims was suddenly removed from their WhatsApp group by group leader Councillor Jason Smithers (Con, Oundle) on Friday evening.

In a damning statement, Cllr Sims said that his former party had ‘neglected’ Corby.

He said: “As a long serving councillor in Corby, I have always worked in the best interests of the residents here.

"I believe in this town, the people and the ambition it has. I no longer believe the Conservatives have Corby’s best interests at heart. I have witnessed Corby be neglected by the Conservatives, both locally and nationally.

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"They carry out public consultations with their fingers in their ears, continually ignoring what’s best for the town.

“I look forward to working with Labour colleagues who are the only party speaking up for Corby.”

Cllr Sims was a former Corby Borough Council and was elected 16 years ago. But a source told this newspaper has become increasingly disillusioned with the direction taken by the NNC Conservative party since the move to unitary in 2021.

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Parliamentary candidate for Corby and East Northants Lee Barron said: “I am very pleased to welcome David Sims to the Labour Party, as he brings a wealth of experience and a passion for Corby and what it has to offer.

“David is right in recognising that for far too long, Corby has been completely neglected by the Conservatives. They are out of touch with the wants and needs of the town, illustrated by their cuts to vital local services, such as the Pen Green Centre. With David’s support, the Labour Party in Corby will continue for fight for our fair share and protect services that matter to people here.”

Labour Group Leader at North Northants Matt Keane said: “I have worked with David in the past at Corby Borough Council and despite being in different parties at the time, he has always worked in the interests of local residents in Corby. I am delighted to welcome him to the Labour Group and look forward to working together.”

New political makeup of North Northants Council:

Conservative: 56

Labour: 16

Independent: 2

Green: 3

Lib Dem: 1