Tendring Tories in turmoil

CONSERVATIVE councillors in Tendring have found themselves in further disarray after allegedly being pressured to join a new political group by their regional party bosses.

By Roddy Ashworth

CONSERVATIVE councillors in Tendring have found themselves in further disarray after allegedly being pressured to join a new political group by their regional party bosses.

The move comes just over a week after three district councillors - including Tendring District Council (TDC) leader Terry Allen - were suspended from the Tory Party by the national board at Conservative Central Office.

Mr Allen has pledged to remain council leader and fight the decision, claiming that 11 days after being suspended he has still not been told the reason for it.


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But now it has emerged the council's Tory group has officially split into rival factions.

Conservatives on TDC have allegedly been told by county and regional chiefs that if they want to stand as Tories in the forthcoming local elections they must join a new group called Tendring Conservatives.

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This group was officially registered yesterday at the town hall and is led by Neil Stock. It also includes Sarah Candy, who sits on Essex County Council as well as TDC.

Meanwhile those who remain in the existing Tory group with Mr Allen have been told they will not be able to stand for TDC under the Conservative banner - and if they stand as independent candidates against official Tory ones they could be automatically expelled from the party.

Yesterday Ms Candy claimed the reason for setting up Tendring Conservatives was because the existing group, led by Mr Allen, technically had no rules - and did not hold elections for its leader.

The new group, she explained, would follow the national party's “model rules” for local groups.

Mr Stock said he had been asked by Tory officials to set up the new group.

He said: “We have initially registered the group with just eight members and we are inviting all Conservative councillors to join us.

“The Tendring Conservatives are the group recognised by the party as the official group.”

Yesterday a defiant Mr Allen said that 16 of his supporters had pledged to remain loyal to him while eight Tories - including Ms Candy and Mr Stock - had left to join the other group.

He said he suspected that the reason he was being targeted by the party was because he refused to go along with its new proposals for wider local government and instead wanted to put the people of Tendring first.

“My group met on Friday and they are solid with me, even with all the threats of being thrown out of the party.

“This is getting ridiculous. But if they want to form a breakaway group that's up to them. Because that's all they are - a breakaway group.”

Nobody from the Conservative Party central office or the Essex area office was available for comment.

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