De-selected councillors vow to fight on

TWO Honiton county councillors, who were deselected by their own party, have vowed to fight for their seats.

TWO Honiton county councillors, who were deselected by their own party, have vowed to fight for their seats.The Conservative vote could be split as Roger Boote and Barry Nicholson say they will stand in the June election. In September last year, the Tories' chose Sara Randall Johnson to stand in St Michael's Ward and Paul Diviani for the St Paul's division.But Cllr Nicholson told the Herald: "I can confirm that Roger and I are standing to defend our seats. "I can't say if it will be as an Independent at the moment."Cllr Nicholson, who has been the district councillor for St Michael's Ward for 10 years, and county councillor for eight years, said he had earned his majority through hard work. He said: "It's my seat. I got elected as a Conservative there and I'm the councillor. "My feelings are that I'm doing nothing wrong, except defending my seat - which Randall Johnson is trying to take from me."He added that the de-selection had been distressing for him.Honiton and Tiverton Conservatives said in a statement last September that Cllrs Sara Randall Johnson and Paul Diviani were selected following a secret ballot of paid-up party members.Sara Randall Johnson said the councillors had been through a selection process and several people had put themselves forward for those seats.She felt the pair should do the 'honourable thing' and stand down. She said: "To the watching public this will look more like someone who is a poor loser in the sense that they're obviously not happy. "Both stood on the Conservative ticket and as active supporters of the party for some time. "By turning their back on party members who helped get them elected and the people who voted for them, I think it's a gross betrayal."She added that she had wanted to be a county councillor, but had previously been the primary carer of her mother and did not have time.Ms Randall Johnson is leader of East Devon District Council and Mr Diviani is currently the authority's chairman.