An Uttlesford councillor who held senior local authority positions claims he was deselected by his party for ‘asking difficult questions’.

Councillor Garry LeCount, who chaired Uttlesford District Council’s standards committee and vice chaired its scrutiny committee, is now standing as an independent candidate in the Elsenham and Henham ward in the area’s local election on May 4.

Previously a councillor with Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), which has run the district council since 2019, Cllr LeCount told the LDRS he felt he had become an “outsider and a pariah” in the party after asking “difficult questions” via his roles in scrutiny and standards.

But the claims were disputed in a statement by the party, which said the reason for its decision was his “personal conduct”, and they “treated him fairly” throughout the selection process.

Cllr LeCount disputes that he was not reselected due to his conduct.

He also claimed to the LDRS he had been informed by the party they did not think he would win the seat.

An email from the party to Cllr LeCount, seen by the LDRS, appears to suggest he was offered the opportunity to stand as an R4U candidate in the Stansted North ward.

He said: “I would ask all sorts of different questions, certainly many of them were difficult questions and hard questions.

“They put the people in the cabinet under pressure to make sure that they were doing the right thing.”


He later said: “I soon became an outsider and a pariah really in my own party. So when the nominations came up for this election on May 4, I wasn’t selected.”

He went on to describe the party structure as “incompetent,” making reference to the nearly £3million lost during the Stansted Airport expansion appeal and the council’s designation, and further claimed there is a lack of affordable housing in the district.

Cllr LeCount was first elected as a councillor in 2017, alongside now-council leader Petrina Lees.

He won the seat again in 2019, when R4U won a landslide victory and took control of the council.

A spokesperson for Residents for Uttlesford said in a statement: “We had discussions with Garry LeCount about his reselection as a Residents candidate for the Elsenham and Henham ward, and a possible alternative location.

“We can confirm that he was not reselected. We’d like to thank him for his service.

“His characterisations are not factually correct. He knows the reasons why R4U chose not to select him.

“They relate to his personal conduct in the ward over a period of time. As a party we believe in positive politics, which includes being respectful to the residents you represent and those you work with.

“We don’t intend to comment further as we believe this is a private matter for those involved, however, throughout the selection process we fully communicated with him and treated him fairly.”

Uttlesford District Council will be electing all of its councillors on May 4 this year.

Bianca Donald is standing as the second R4U candidate in Elsenham and Henham, according to the statement of persons nominated.

In previous years, the scrutiny committee has discussed issues including the council’s local plan, improvements to Uttlesford’s 2,800-strong council housing stock and the Stansted Airport saga.