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'Hostile' reception for absent Stamford MP as outgoing chairman launches savage attack

Stamford MP Nick Boles was savagely attacked at the AGM of the Conservative association he is no longer a member of.

The Grantham and Stamford Conservative association held the meeting on Thursday night (March 28) in which they said would soon get to work in finding a replacement candidate for the next general election.

In a report which was also sent to almost 600 party members, outgoing association chairman Philip Sagar accused the MP of “rogue and incredulous actions” and of “arrogance and self-importance”.

His comments were made before Mr Boles resigned from the Conservative Party yesterday (Monday, April 1) , saying the party was “incapable of compromise”.

In the speech, which received a standing ovation from the 100 or so present, Mr Sagar said the MP had portrayed Grantham and Stamford Conservatives in a “derogatory manner”.

He had accused the association of “lurching to the right” and “even tried to portray the membership as homophobic”.

“What a cheap shot and so far from the truth,” Mr Sagar added.

Nick Boles MP (8210922)
Nick Boles MP (8210922)

Mr Sagar said “many hundreds” had called for the MP’s deselection, saying of 345 e-mails received from party members and supporters, just 22 supported the MP, with 308 wanting him to go.

“Many moderate Conservative supporters like [SKDC leader] Matthew [Lee] and I feel let down and betrayed by Nick.”

However, more of an issue was Mr Boles’ “long absences” from the constituency, him cancelling constituency surgeries, leaving events as soon as possible and not following a promise to buy a property in the constituency.

The MP's efforts to stop a no deal Brexit has also ‘undermined’ Prime Minister Theresa May and with other MPs, Mr Boles had “more than played his part” in reducing Britain to a laughing stock in the eyes of the world.

However, Mr Sagar saved his strongest words for Mr Boles timing his resignation from the branch on the weekend his wife Jane Sagar died after a battle with ovarian cancer.

“I am devastated and heartbroken but also very angry at the heartless selfish self-serving scheming of a man I have supported and called a friend for almost 12 years who had always empathised with our personal struggle through his own battles against cancer. That he could have robbed me of my full attention to my dying wife on Friday night and Saturday morning,... is unforgiveable. He knew exactly our position and yet chose to launch yet another unfounded attack on our association.”

He added: “I believe Nick’s announcement on not to seek re-adoption should stand us in good stead.”

“At least now we can get on and choose a new candidate for the next election quickly and hopefully one that is not of the me, me, me generation and who will embrace our area openly and honestly and seek to make their home here!”

The AGM elected Stamford county councillor Martin Trollope-Below as chairman, replacing Mr Sagar.

Deputy chairman is now SKDC leader Matthew Lee, replacing Coun Adam Stokes.

Grantham councillor Adam Stokes is now treasurer, replacing Andrew Moore.

Mr Sagar joins county council leader Martin Hill, Bourne East district councillor Judy Smith and Grantham St Wulfram’s district councillor Jacky Smith as vice-presidents.

After the meeting, Coun Trollope-Below said people agreed with Mr Sagar.

Coun Stokes said Mr Sagar’s report “went down quite well and there were “no dissenting voices” against their former chairman.

He continued: “I have been talking to quite a lot of residents. They talk about Brexit and Nick Boles in particular. There’s a sense of betrayal from a lot of the public. It does look like he’s trying to block Brexit.”

Grantham East Conservative branch chairman Coun Ray Wootten confirmed: “It was a very hostile meeting towards Nick Boles. If he had been there, it would have been very uncomfortable for him. It was disappointing he wasn’t there to face the music.”

The Mercury has approached Mr Boles for comment.

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