A DISTRICT councillor has resigned from the Conservative Party due to her “disappointment with its direction and policies”.

Cllr Tracie Middleton, who represents the Wolds Ward, covering Foxholes, Kirby Grindalythe, Luttons, Thixendale, Weaverthorpe, Wharram and Wintringham, has been a member of Ryedale District Council (RDC) nearly 18 months.

She is also vice-chairman of RDC’s overview and scrutiny committee.

Cllr Middleton said: “For the rest of my term I will be serving on Ryedale District Council as an Independent councillor (non-group member).

“The reasons are many, not least, my increasing disappointment with the Conservative Party in general.

“However, on a local basis I have come to believe that my ward members will be better served by having the freedom to use my own voice as an Independent rather than being part of a larger group.

“I have been the district councillor for the Wolds since May 2019. I have been a member of the Conservative Party for approximately six years, but a Conservative voter for 30 years.

“I have been increasingly disillusioned with decisions made by government and I no longer want to be supporting those decisions.”

Cllr Middleton added: “I decided to become a councillor as I have always been interested in how local government is run and my own increasing concerns and those of friends and neighbours regarding reduction of local services, etc, made me want to do something proactive to help instead of just moaning about it.

“Locally, I believe that having and using my own voice instead of being constrained by local party politics will enable me to better serve my ward members and allow my conscience to remain clear.”

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of RDC, said: “The Conservative Group is disappointed by Cllr Middleton’s decision, but we fully respect it. We hope to continue working with her over the coming months in the best interests of Ryedale.”

RDC has 30 members - 11 Conservative, six Ryedale First Independents, five members of the Independent Group, five Liberals and two Liberal Democrats, along with Cllr Middleton.

Earlier this month Cllr Duncan was re-elected as leader of RDC for the second time at the authority’s annual meeting Cllr Stephen Arnold was re-elected as deputy leader, while Cllr Michael Cleary was re-elected as chairman, with Cllr Nathan Garbutt-Moore voted vice-chairman.