New Tendring political group formed

ALL-OUT war on the right of the political spectrum was unleashed in Tendring yesterday after 11 Conservative councillors resigned en masse from the Tory Party.

By Roddy Ashworth

ALL-OUT war on the right of the political spectrum was unleashed in Tendring yesterday after 11 Conservative councillors resigned en masse from the Tory Party.

The 11, including Tendring District Council's current leader, Terry Allen, quit after months of acrimony between two rival factions within Tory associations in North Essex.

The involvement of Conservative Central Office in February, which resulted in the suspension of Mr Allen and four other local party members, provided the catalyst for yesterday's resignations.


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Now the remaining “official” Conservative group on the council - set up less than a month ago to isolate its rival faction - faces the prospect of taking on some of the district's hardest political hitters.

Most of those who have quit are now joining a new party, Tendring First, and will be standing against their former Conservative colleagues in May's local government elections.

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How damaging this will be for the Tories in the long term remains to be seen, but members of Tendring First were in buoyant mood yesterday as they met on the steps of Clacton's town hall.

Mr Allen said yesterday: “We left the Tories because we want a party that will work for the people of Tendring, not Colchester or Chelmsford. Tendring First is a party that will do that.”

But a spokesman for the Conservative Party said it would be fighting all of the council seats, even though some of those chosen to stand have very little - if any - political experience.

“As an inclusive and transparent grass roots party, we are proud of the fact that we are fielding a range of new candidates who have not been in local politics for ever and a day,” he said.

“David Cameron has had a massive impact on our party and that has been reflected by the number of people coming forward and wanting to get involved”.

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