Hartlepool councillor Angela Falconer has resigned from the Conservative Party and now sits on the Independent benches. She was not available for comment.
North East Bylines understands that Cllr Falconer will stand as an Independent in the 4 May local elections when one third of council seats are up for re-election.
The councillor’s change of allegiance may be symptomatic of a rift within the local Tory party. There are unconfirmed rumours of tensions between Tory MP Jill Mortimer and local Conservatives Chair Ray Martin-Wells, that date back to Mortimer’s by-election campaign in 2021.
In a sign that all is not well in the Tory-Independent Union coalition that runs the town, Council Leader Shane Moore has announced he will step down from the role after the May elections. His seat is not up for re-election. The official reason for his resignation is “to find a better work-life balance Cllr Moore, of the Independent Union group, is also Deputy Mayor of Tees Valley Combined Authority, having been appointed to the post by Tory Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen.