Reaction: Mixture of views over Tim Yeo being dropped by South Suffolk Conservatives

Tim Yeo

Tim Yeo - Credit: Archant

There was a mixed reaction today to the news that long-serving Suffolk MP Tim Yeo has been de-selected by his constituency party – with support for his green credentials and environmental work.

Robert Lindsay, co ordinator of Babergh Green Party, which covers nearly all of Mr Yeo’s constituency, said his party was sorry to see Mr Yeo losing the vote to be South Suffolk Conservatives’ next general election candidate.

He said: “Whatever you think about Mr Yeo personally, he was one of the very few senior Conservative MPs who realised the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions to avoid runaway climate change, and who made some effort to achieve that.

“With David Cameron reportedly talking about getting rid of ‘green crap’ in relation to energy levies, which are vital to helping to rein in energy-waste, the Conservatives have clearly decided they no longer want to be the greenest ever government.

“We firmly believe that theirs is not the direction in which the people of south Suffolk want to travel. We will be sending Mr Yeo a copy of the Green Party manifesto.”

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Jane Basham, Labour Parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk for the next election, voiced similar concerns – saying Mr Yeo had been one of the few forward-thinking members of the Government on green issues.

She was, however, not totally surprised at his de-selection, though she described the vote as “a significant local decision” and felt it favourable for her chances of winning the seat.

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She said: “I applied for this role because I believe that Labour can win in South Suffolk.

“I think the incumbent MP, especially such a long-standing and high-profile one, has an edge as their name is well-known and there is always a personal vote.

“Someone new coming in will already be having to play catch-up – Labour is already out there and we are getting a very clear steer that people want a full-time MP and someone who will represent the issues and interests of South Suffolk in Parliament and I intend to do just that.”

Jon Ashworth MP, Labour’s shadow cabinet office minister, said: “Tim Yeo’s deselection is another sign that under David Cameron the Conservative Party is reverting to type, with no place for those who thought he meant it when he said ‘Vote blue, go green’.

“Just this week one Tory with modernising credentials has been deselected and another has quit, and David Cameron is trying to water down a green levy he introduced and even boasted about.

“It’s more evidence of the death of Tory modernisation. David Cameron’s party is becoming narrower and less open and moving further from the centre ground.”

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