TWO of the remaining five members of Poole People Party have left the group saying it had “lost its way”.

Councillors Pete Miles and Steve Baron said becoming independents would mean they are now “free to speak out” and they could better serve the public.

It means Poole People has now lost more than half of its councillors in the past 13 months and now has just three elected representatives.

In October last year both councillors Julie Bagwell and Dan Butt left the group to become independent, criticising the “binds of the political whip” and its leadership.

They have now been joined by Cllrs Miles and Baron who quit last week, raising similar concerns about a lack of freedom to choose which policies they support.

The group now has just three councillors among its membership – Mark Howell, Andy Hadley and L-J Evans.

“At the height of its success the Poole People Party was a formidable force for the good of Poole, ensuring that Poole residents had a voice to challenge the Conservative monopoly on power and decision-making,” Cllr Miles said.

“Presently I think it’s lost its way and I feel I’m best serving my Oakdale ward and the people of Poole as an independent councillor.

“I’m not keen on party politics particularly on a local level and hope that BCP Council will eventually adopt a more collaborative approach, using all the skills of its elected members across the political divide, which can only benefit our residents and towns.”

His comments were echoed by Cllr Baron who represents the Parkstone ward.

“The Poole People Party professed to be an independent local party, where if I was elected there would be no strict ‘party line’,” he said. “I was apparently free to represent my residents as I felt fit but sadly it didn’t do what it said on the tin.

“The simple fact that four out of its seven elected members have walked away speaks volumes.

“As an independent member I am now free to speak out for all BCP residents and to stand on my own merits to properly serve my much loved ward of Parkstone.”

Their resignations means that the balance of groups’ representations on committees will be reviewed at Tuesday’s full council meeting.