OUTSPOKEN Conservative Peter Carr (left) is to quit Hart Council because he is fed up with what he calls a regime of political spin doctors and control freaks.
After 21 years as a councillor, he has decided not to defend his Fleet Courtmoor ward seat at the May council elections. In an amazing outburst, he claimed many of his council colleagues were more interested in serving their political masters than doing their best for the local community.
"They are simply using the council as a stepping stone to further their ambitions to get into Parliament," said Mr Carr, a member of the council's controlling Conservative group.
He accused a new breed of councillors, who had taken control of the group during the past two years, of souring the atmosphere.
"We have whips telling us how to vote, and spin doctors telling us what to say," he continued.
"Politicians coming through from all political parties these days seem to be control freaks."
Mr Carr added that he was regarded as a maverick and loose cannon because he refused to toe the party line.
"They're right, I'll never be a team player," he said. "I believe the interests of local people should be at the forefront of council business.
"Instead most councillors seem more interested in scoring points off each other. I've had enough of it."
Mr Carr, managing director of a lifting gear company, said he yearned for the days when he held parties at his home attended by councillors of all political persuasions.
"We used to have a marvellous time, whereas nowadays members are worried that they might say the wrong thing," he added.
First elected in 1974, he had a seven year break from the council from December 1981 following an earlier spat with local Tories.
In 1992, at the age of 44, he became the council's youngest chairman, a record which he still holds.
Mr Carr, married with four children and two grandchildren, said: "For the first 19 years I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a councillor.
"But the way things are now, I feel I can no longer represent people in the way that I want to."