02:15PM, Thursday 16 May 2019
A long-serving councillor has rejected calls for a by-election after stepping down from the Slough Conservative group.
Cllr Rajinder Sandhu resigned from the party last week and will now serve as an independent for the final year of his term in the town’s Upton ward.
He told the Express he would not ‘sacrifice his principles’ for the party.
He said: “If I feel like someone is stopping me serving according to the policy I’m not someone who will blindly carry on.
“This decision isn’t against anyone personally, it’s about principles.”
The 68-year-old was first elected as a Conservative councillor in Upton in 2014, having previously served as a Labour councillor.
He rejected the Slough Conservative group’s calls for a by-election but insisted he would win if one was called.
“I know that if I stand I will still win because my votes are not just for the party, they are personal votes,” Cllr Sandhu added.
“They [Slough Conservatives] should think about whether they’ve got the muscle to unseat me, then they can challenge me.”
A joint statement issued by Slough Conservative chairman Lee Pettman and leader Cllr Wayne Strutton said: “We request Cllr Sandhu, now he has made his decision, to call a by-election immediately, allowing the people of Upton the opportunity to confirm if they support being represented by an Independent councillor or if they prefer to continue to be represented by a party associated candidate.
“Residents in Upton can rest assured that, no matter what, our dedicated team of Conservative members and activists will continue to work hard for them all-year round, holding the Labour council and Labour MP Tan Dhesi to account.”
Cllr Sandhu’s departure leaves the group with just four serving councillors after it lost seats in Upton and Langley St Mary’s in the local elections earlier this month.
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