Cornwall councillor Armand Toms resigns from Conservative party
Cornwall Council's portfolio holder for adult social care Armand Toms has today resigned from the Conservative party.
Mr Toms, Cornwall Councillor for East Looe, is the third cabinet member to leave the party following the council's decision to back Liberal Democrat proposal for a zero per cent rise in council tax last month.
Mr Toms said: "The budget that was proposed by Alex Folkes means that £850, 000 will come out of adult social care for agency staff.
"I have spent four years working very hard to bring the services up to a reasonable level and I think what we are being asked to save and the increased in demand do not match up.
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"To see it go the other way would break my heart.
"I cannot support the budget therefore I am going against my group. I could have stayed and fought from within but I am not prepared to do that and not be able to voice my concerns. That is why I have done what I have done."
Following Mr Toms resignation this morning, there are now just two Conservative members in the cabinet.
Cabinet members Lance Kennedy and Carolyn Rule both left the Conservatives for the Independent group following the decision to freeze council tax.
And Stephen Rushworth, the portfolio holder for the economy, was sacked two weeks ago.
Fiona Ferguson, Conservative Group Leader, said she was sorry to report Mrs Toms' resignation.
Mrs Ferguson said: "The cabinet now is almost entirely made up of independent councillors and in no way reflects Conservative Party policy."
She defended the council's decision to freeze the council tax bill.
Mrs Fergusson said: "Conservative Party policy throughout has been to campaign against any rise in council tax to protect the hard working people of Cornwall.
"The bare facts are that to accept the Government grant for Cornwall of nearly £5 million and freeze council tax, we needed to save less than 1 per cent of a net budget of over £500m.
"Few people in Cornwall will believe that should be so very hard."