A senior member of the ruling Conservative cabinet on Swindon Borough Council has reigned from both cabinet and the party.


Oliver Donachie, who was the member for economy and place has left the cabinet over a disagreement about how the council, and particularly its response to the coronavirus crisis, is being run.

He was unhappy about the passing of a motion at the council's special committee last week that allowed more decision making powers to officers - he  abstained  when a Labour amendment to a report was passed an attached to the  motion.

He said: "I can't say very much, but I'm unhappy at the way things are being handled. I don't think the constitution should be a political matter, but this is about who runs the place, officers or councillors."


Three other cabinet members, deputy leader Russell Holland, Cathy Martyn and Maureen Penny also opposed the amendment and voted again the motion which was passed with Labour and Liberal Democrat votes and the support of council leader David Renard.


David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council said: "The Conservative Group and I are saddened and disappointed that Coun Donachie has decided to take this course of action and we thank him for his service to the Council and people of Swindon as a member of Cabinet.


“This is very surprising as it was only last week that Coun Donachie nominated me for leader of Swindon Conservatives and was being very positive about the year ahead.  Unfortunately Coun Donachie wanted to have a particular role on cabinet and told me that unless I agreed to his demands he would resign from the Conservative group. 

“I was very happy to offer him a different role on cabinet and spent several hours discussing this with him but he was determined to resign when he did not get exactly what he wanted.  This is disappointing because as a council we are very much focused on doing everything possible to help in the current pandemic and this situation is an unwelcome distraction.  As leader I remain committed to doing my very best for the people of Swindon."