THE new mayor of Colchester has become an independent councillor after quitting her party a week after taking on her new role.

Stanway councillor Lesley Scott-Boutell, who became the city’s 191st mayor last Wednesday, left the Liberal Democrats to become an independent on Thursday.

She told the Gazette her decision to resign from the Lib Dems will help her remain impartial in her new role as the mayor of Colchester.

She said: “To coincide with my recent appointment as mayor of Colchester, I personally feel I can better serve my duties and all the city’s residents as non-political.

“By having no political affiliations, I am upholding the impartiality of the mayoralty.”

Gazette: New role - Ms Scott-Boutell became the mayor of Colchester last weekNew role - Ms Scott-Boutell became the mayor of Colchester last week (Image: Seana Hughes)

The mayor’s main role is to serve as the non-political chairman of the council, but the elected mayor does continue to represent their ward during their mayoral year.

Ms Scott-Boutell was first elected to represent Stanway after standing as a Lib Dem candidate in 2002 and has held onto the seat ever since, except for one year after she wasn’t re-elected in 2015.

Her resignation from the Lib Dem group means the party is now the joint second largest on Colchester Council, losing its one-seat lead on Labour.

Both parties now hold 14 seats, the Conservatives 19, the Greens 3, and Ms Scott-Boutell is the only independent.

The Stanway councillor says her decision to leave the Lib Dems won’t affect her ongoing commitments to the village and its residents.

David King, the leader of Colchester Council, said: “I have deep respect for Lesley as an independent-minded councillor.”

Gazette: Respect - Colchester Council leader David KingRespect - Colchester Council leader David King (Image: Newsquest)

“I wish her well in her role as mayor and I and my colleagues will keep as close to Lesley as we can during this year supporting her mayoralty,” the Lib Dem councillor added.

Ms Scott-Boutell was sworn in as the city’s new mayor at a lavish ceremony at Colchester Town Hall last week.

During the service, she unveiled the theme of her mayoral year as “fostering tolerance and understanding, breaking down perceptions, and building a safe space for all”.

Councillors from all political praised her long service and dedication to serving Stanway.