Essex: UKIP county councillor Roger Lord resigns after being deselected as Clacton election candidate

Roger Lord pictured in County Hall after his re-election to Essex County Council in the Brightlingse

Roger Lord pictured in County Hall after his re-election to Essex County Council in the Brightlingsea division in 2013. His resignation has sparked a by-election, to be held on October 9. - Credit: Archant

The man standing for UKIP in Clacton before the defection of Douglas Carswell has announced he is resigning his council seat and leaving the party.

Roger Lord, Essex county councillor for Brightlingsea, had already been selected to contest the Clacton Parliamentary seat in May by UKIP.

However he was forced out after the incumbent Tory MP Mr Carswell announced his resignation and defection to UKIP and said he would be standing for his new party in the resulting by-election.

Mr Lord, a veteran of local politics who prior to his current term at County Hall had served as a Conservative county councillor in the early 1990s, blamed internal party back-stabbing for the move and said it was time for a break from politics.

The move has caused waves at Essex County Council with a spat developing between the Conservative and UKIP group leaders.

He said: “I think it is time to draw a line under this.

“In mountaineering terms it’s time to cut the rope and touch the void, and see what life brings.

“This was not something I was considering before. I was enjoying my role, it was intellectually challenging and we were achieving some good things.

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“But I have had debates closed down by my party and it explains several other things that have been happening to me of the past six months or so, and in political circles within UKIP. There have been personal allegations and all sorts of implied stories and I was wondering where it was all coming from.

“I never got on badly with any opposition councillors. Sadly it’s my own side that can’t get on with me for some reason.

“I was the agent for Tendring and the area, and I put up a bit of money – a fair chunk – to pay for the leaflets and various things, which is no small amount of work. And the first person who stabbed me in the back was the bloke I helped to get in.

“I was talking to Nigel Farage three or four weeks ago, telling him what I was doing in Clacton, and he said ‘I very much doubt Douglas Carswell can be unseated’. It was not a targeted seat for UKIP, but I said I could win.

“But Nigel Farage didn’t let on, he knew from the off. I think he could have confided in me and told me not to waste my time, instead of me being deselected as candidate and told to quietly shuffle off.

“According to the rules I have the right to address the national executive but I was rung up and sworn at and told to shut up.

“I don’t want to deal with fools like that. There are bigger things in life and I don’t want to sink to that level.

“I know they say politics is a dirty game, but it is not really, it is an intellectual battle between two parties. It is not personal animosity.

“I think there was a certain degree of naivety from Douglas Carswell, but I have no personal animosity to him.

“But I can’t see what is so special about him. He is not a blinding intellectual light leading the masses towards Nirvana.

“What insults the people of Clacton is that this was a deal made during a discreet meal in Mayfair in London. But will Stuart Wheeler [a key UKIP donor] come down to Brooklands in Jaywick and tell people how their future candidate was decided?”

Mr Lord, who stood for UKIP for the Saffron Walden seat in the 2010 general election, said he was looking forward to having a break from politics.

“There’s a big wide world out there and I have many interests, not confined to Britain,” he said.

“I will apply my head to business a bit more now.”

Mr Lord, a farmer, said he would be handing his support to Liberal Democrat Gary Scott, Tendring district councillor for Alresford, who he described as a “very genuine person” for the forthcoming county council by-election.

The Liberal Democrats are due to select their Parliamentary candidate in a meeting last night in Clacton, with the winner set to be unveiled in the town on Saturday.

Mr Scott said he would not be standing in the Parliamentary by-election.

The Conservatives have announced they will be holding an open primary to select their candidate.

Reacting to the news the Conservative county council leader David Finch said: “This just proves UKIP are in complete disarray in Essex and their one trick pony policies are starting unravel as they fall out amongst themselves. This will be a bitter blow to their Clacton campaign and the wheels are off the Carswell bandwagon.

“We shall be fighting the county council by-election hard and putting our strong record forward with well-thought out policies.”

The news of Mr Lord’s resignation broke minutes before David Cameron told the House of Commons during Prime Minister’s Questions he will be getting “all sorts of pleasant surprises” on his birthday on October 9 when the by-election takes place, but asked MPs “please don’t spoil it by letting me know what they are”.