Top Suffolk Tory quits after being “appalled” by party’s recent changes

Sarah Stamp served on the cabinets at both St Edmundsbury and Suffolk County Couincils. Picture: PHI

Sarah Stamp served on the cabinets at both St Edmundsbury and Suffolk County Couincils. Picture: PHIL MORLEY. - Credit: Archant

Former councillor and leading Suffolk Conservative Sarah Stamp has left the party after becoming increasingly disenchanted with its policies over recent months.

Ms Stamp was a member of St Edmundsbury Council until May when she did not seek election to the new West Suffolk authority - and she was a member of Suffolk County Council between 2013 and 2017.

She was a member of the cabinet of both authorities and a senior member of the Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association during 2014 when former MP David Ruffley was replaced as candidate for the 2015 General Election by Jo Churchill.

Ms Stamp's Twitter feed has shown her getting increasingly frustrated by the national Conservative Party's growing intolerance towards Brexit rebels - and its apparent abandonment of a "Broad Church" approach to policy discussions.

She was very concerned by the decision of Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson to stand down - tweeting that Ms Davidson was one of the few things keeping her faith in the party.

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And she was outraged by a Conservative Party social media campaign portraying Jeremy Corbyn as giant chicken. She said then: "Think my days as a card carrying Tory are just about numbered and I never thought I'd say that. This is not the party I joined and have been so proud to represent."

When urged by friend and Conservative councillor Jane Storey to get behind the Boris Johnson and not to tie his hands, Ms Stamp replied: "I can't get behind him when I don't agree with him, Jane."

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On Tuesday evening Ms Stamp announced on Twitter: "Well that's official then. I'm no longer a member of the Conservative Party."

And she followed this up with: "An integral part of my life for 12 years but the past 18 months have left me disenfranchised And the past four months appalled. I hope they will rise again with the beliefs I subscribed to but in the meantime I can't support."

Mrs Storey, a former interim leader of the county council, said Ms Stamp's departure would be a great loss for Bury St Edmunds Conservative Association: "She has been a terrific supporter of the party and during election campaigns has been a great help. I am very sorry to hear this."

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