‘Betrayed’ Tories demand Bourne MP resigns as MP.
‘Betrayed’ local Conservatives have demanded Stamford MP Nick Boles “takes the honourable course and resigns his seat.”
The call from Stamford and Grantham Association vice-president Coun Martin Hill follows Mr Boles quitting his membership of the local association this morning.
The MP said he would remain the local Conservative MP “if offered to me on acceptable terms.”
His decision to quit came as no surprise to local councillors and association officials, who speak of a Remain-supporting MP who has distanced himself from them and failed to represent his constituency who in 2016 voted more than 60 per cent to Leave.
Coun Hill, who is also leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “As you are all aware Nick has been at odds with the local party and the Prime Minister for some time, so this announcement does not come as a complete surprise but the timing does leave at lot to be desired.
“I understand that it is Mr Boles intention to carry on as the MP for Grantham and Stamford until the next General Election despite being elected to represent us in Parliament.
“Our Association AGM will be on March 28th where we can begin the process of selecting a new candidate to represent us at the next election or earlier if Mr Boles takes the honourable course and resigns his seat.
“This is very disappointing for us all as once again we have been betrayed by our parliamentary representative but I am confident that we will continue to work together to support the Conservative cause in this part of Lincolnshire.”
Association Chairman Philip Sagar is reportedly ‘livid’ over the MP’s decision.
He told ITV News there is no “plot” to deselect the MP and all the association wanted to do was “ask him to make his bloody mind” whether he wished to stand again.
“The idea there is a witch hunt is nonsense. I always believed he would not stand again. Now at last he has told us but only because we forced his hand.”
Coun Robert Foulkes, chairman of Stamford Yelland Conservative branch, said the MP “jumped before he was pushed.”
But he wondered what might happen with the constituency being left with an MP who was no longer a member of the local party.
The association would begin the process of choosing a new candidate, but Conservtive party headquarters may have to intervene.
Coun Foulkes, who spent several years in UKIP before returning to the Conservatives and being warmly welcomed back by Mr Boles, said the constituency needs a local candidate who stands by the party manifesto.
He said the referendum meant that people had been given the vote the choose on behalf of MPs who felt unable to, thus MPs had to follow the decision given by the voters.
The county councillor feared that already with the government apparantly failing to deliver Brexit, this could hit the chances of Conservative Party candidates in the May 2 local elections.
He told the Mercury: “With Nick going it’s improved the chances of (us Conservatives) getting people elected. We don’t have that millstone around our necks. He was a liability as opposed to an asset.”
But he added:”It’s sad in a way. Nick is a charming, well-educated chap.”
From his political colleagues, came warmer words,as they paid tribute to the MP.
Home secretary Sajid Javid said: “Very much hope @NickBoles continues to contribute fully to the parliamentary party. A huge talent and a man of integrity. It’s vital we stick together in these challenging times.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “So sad to see the consequences of the divisions over Brexit. My old friend @NickBoles is a v decent man & full of integrity. I desperately hope we can come back together as a party, heal the wounds and work to build a united future for our country
Work and pensions secretary Amber Rudd described Mr Boles as “ A man who influenced the shape of the modern Conservative party & will no doubt continue to do so.
Close colleague Nicky Morgan said: “I am sorry that @NickBoles has felt compelled to make this decision now. @Conservatives are at our best when we are broad in our appeal - MPs are representatives for all of our constituents and owe them our judgment & hard work - something Nick has ably done from 2010.”
The anti-Brexit Anna Soubry, who recently quit the Conservatives to join the Independent Group, also tweeted: “How on earth did it come to this? Yet again there are serious questions to be asked about the leadership of @Conservatives notably of @BrandonLewis who is failing to stand up for first class moderate One Nation Tory MPs like @NickBoles The party is becoming a right wing rump.”
Mr Boles tweeted in response: “Thanks to all those who have sent nice messages about my decision. I hadn’t intended to announce it until tomorrow but ‘better out than in’ as my stepmother says.”
The MP is due to appear on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday at 10am.