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Stamford Tory quits party over Brexit and democracy

A Stamford Conservative county councillor has quit the Conservative Party over Brexit and democracy.

Coun Robert Foulkes says "our democracy is being stolen in plain sight and I cannot be complicit in this by wearing the blue rosette of the Conservative Party."

However, the former UKIP councillor, who returned back to the Conservatives in 2016, declines to say whether the move means he will join the Brexit Party, despite him describing the Nigel Farage-led party as "our only hope".

Today, Tory bosses said they are "not surprised" by his resignation and they expect more to follow, especially if the party's national leadership "don't wake up and smell the coffee."

Coun Robert Foulkes and Coun Martin Hill (11635876)
Coun Robert Foulkes and Coun Martin Hill (11635876)

Over the weekend, Coun Foulkes discussed the matter with Lincolnshire County Leader Coun Martin Hill and Philip Sagar, both of whom are vice-presidents of the Grantham and Stamford Conservative Association, along with association chairman Martin Trollope-Bellew.

In a statement issued today, Coun Foulkes said he was a former UKIP chairman, who returned back to the Conservatives after the 2016 European Union Referendum noting that Lincolnshire Tory County Councillors were supporters of Brexit and that the Government at the time was saying "Brexit Means Brexit" and "No deal is better than a bad deal."

But since then, "the Remain camp have toiled night and day to overturn the result, presenting Theresa May's Withdrawal Treaty as Brexit, when in reality it is a surrender document which would only be signed by a country defeated in war."

He continued: "Our democracy is being stolen in plain sight, and I cannot be complicit in this by wearing the blue rosette of the Conservative Party."

Coun Foulkes, who also resigns has chairman of the Stamford Yelland Branch of the Conservative Association, has however, pledged as an Independent to continue supporting the Conservative administration of Lincolnshire County Council.

"They are sticking to their Lincolnshire manifesto promises which are producing the best outcomes for the people of Stamford and indeed the county. My confidence in the leadership of Coun Martin Hill OBE remains undiminished."

He added: "We have seen the astonishing success of the Brexit Party, which I believe are our only hope to uphold and defend democracy, to ensure it is not snuffed out and to give a voice to those who are being ignored."

In a separate message to Stamford Yelland Conservatives, Coun Foulkes said most MP's "abetted by the Prime Minister no less, have done their utmost to deny the (Referendum) result."

"Our own MP, Nicholas Boles was at the forefront of this betrayal, which led to anger from our association that he threw his toys out of the pram and quit the party."

"The issue became more than Brexirt it has become a fight for democracy itself, Parliament against the People."

Noting, Conservative Party losses in the council elections, both locally and nationally, Coun Foulkes said the Conservative Party leadership has not listened, leading to the "meteoric rise of the Brexit Party."

Political parties have a primary duty to uphold democracy, he continued, and if a party forgets this, it no longer serves the country and is corrupted.

"The Conservative Party has reached this point; it ignores its grass roots, it has become self-serving and yes, corrupted."

He continued: "I value faith, flag and freedom of expression, but it seems conservatism is being destroyed by the very Parliamentary Conservative Party which should be its cheerleader. I cannot support it any more."

"Whilst I am sad at leaving what was once such a great political party, the party of Margaret Thatcher, I'm filled with optimism that the future is bright. As Beatle George Harrison said, all things must pass, and what was once the Conservative Party must now hand on the baton to a party fit for the challenges of the 21st Century. The Brexit Party."

Philip Sagar, vice-president of Grantham and Stamford Conservative Association said he was "not surprised" Coun Foulkes was resigning and he expected more to follow.

"I have some empathy with him. Robert's view would be echoed by many members. I don't think he'll be the last."

Parliament, he said, needs to "wake up and smell the coffee. This is what the real world is thinking."

Philip Sagar (11640034)
Philip Sagar (11640034)

Mr Sagar, a former association chairman, recalled how Coun Foulkes was warmly welcomed back into the Conservative Party in 2016 and said 'deep down' the Brexit Party is "an extension of the Conservative Party."

He noted the Brexit Party looked set to win this Thursday's Peterborough by-election, with an 'honest' candidate in businessman and philanthropist Mike Greene, someone he also described as a friend and 'lifelong Tory', not a career politician and the kind of person the Conservatives should have in their party.

Mr Sagar added: "It's quite clear we have a Remain parliament. In fact they have made the situation ten times worse. If only they had allowed the PM to let David Davis get tough with Europe...but they undermined her and we have got into this mess that we are in."

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