A Conservative councillor in South Gloucestershire has resigned from the party in protest at attempts to smear and bully him.
Cllr Ben Walker walked out on the party yesterday to join UKIP. In a letter to councillors, he said he could not be “part of a party that who actively undermines members who wish to progress themselves further”.
He added that he had been “internally smeared” by Conservative councillors but would “not be bullied”, and that he would “fight fairly through other channels”.
“I cannot be part of a party that who actively undermines members who wish to progress themselves further at a branch, MP, or central office level for reasons that remain unclear. I have been internally smeared but will not be bullied,” he wrote.
“I will not fracture the Conservative group from within, as I do not wish that for my colleges (sic), I will fight fairly through other channels.
“Internal individuals have made it their business to remove me from the party in fear of their positions so I have decided to give them what they want; for now.”
“… I have to be true to my beliefs and retain my dignity; in the end, it’s all we have.”
A spokesman for the Bristol and South Gloucestershire Conservative group said Cllr Walker had “let down” the party and those who voted for him last year.
“Councillor Walker has let down the hundreds of Bradley Stoke residents who voted to elect a Conservative Councillor only last year,” he wrote.
“The Conservative Party locally will continue to champion the needs and aspirations of the people of Bradley Stoke as it always has.”