A SPENNYMOOR councillor has announced he is quitting the town and county council.

Geoff Darkes has stepped down from both Durham County Council and Spennymoor Town Council and has also resigned from the Spennymoor Independent Group.

He claimed differences with colleagues had led him to decide to focus on community work outside the two councils.

He said: “My problem is certain members of the group who forgot why they were elected.

“They were elected for the benefit of the town and as a non-political group standing for openness, transparency, honesty and trust.

“I tried for about a year with other colleagues to find a way through, but it wouldn’t work, so I decided I had to withdraw.”

Mr Darkes was elected to the county council in 2017, helping the Spennymoor Independent Group to a clean sweep of the three seats available in the Spennymoor electoral division.

His decision was confirmed in a ‘notice of vacancy’ published on Monday, March 11, which instructed voters to write to Durham County Council if they wanted to request an election for the vacant seat.

His resignation from Spennymoor Town Council was also confirmed earlier this month and voters have until Wednesday, March 27, to contact the county council to a request a town council by-election.

If that does not happen, the remaining town councillors will select a replacement themselves.

Mr Darkes has ruled himself out of any future by-election race and added he decided early on that he would not continue to represent his county council and town council seats as an independent unaligned to any political party or group.

He said: “I was elected as a member of that group, if I just decided to become an independent councillor that goes against what the electorate elected me for.

“I considered it, but morally and ethically I found it indefensible.”

Reacting to the news of Mr Darkes’s resignation, Councillor Liz Maddison, the leader of the county council’s Spennymoor Independents Group, said her former colleague had ‘his own personal reasons’ for the decision, but that she had worked ‘very well’ with him.

She added: “There was a lot we set out to do which we’ve done and other things which we have yet to see through to fruition.

“It’s just a pity that Geoff decided that was his view and decided to go.

“I can understand his feelings, but in the end we’re in a political arena.”