Eurosceptic Conservative Party Member of Parliament Chris Kelly is to stand down in 2015, following rumours that he might have been the next MP to defect to UKIP after Douglas Carswell’s crossing of the floor earlier this week.
Kelly, who is the Member for Parliament for Dudley South, said today:
“I would like to thank all those who have supported me since I was selected for Dudley South in September 2007. I would especially like to thank all those who voted for me at the general election in May 2010 and all of the friends and supporters who helped me for that election, as well as those who have supported my efforts since.
“I am proud to have served the good people of Dudley South for the past five years.”
“I won’t be joining UKIP, though I wish Douglas Carswell all the best. He has been a superb MP and it’s honourable to stand for re-election.”
His Conservative Party colleague Conor Burns MP tweeted that the party was “losing the wrong people” while the former editor of ConservativeHome, Tim Montgomerie called the move “Yet another sign of an unhappy, anxious party”.
Bill Etheridge, the UKIP candidate for neighbouring Dudley North told Breitbart London: “I know Chris Kelly. I worked with him on his election campaign in 2010. Sadly in recent years we have not been in touch but I remember an energetic, determined young man with great hopes for our country and ambitions for himself.
“I have not spoken to Chris about the reasons for his decision but I do know he found it very hard to work under David Cameron and the Kensington / Chelsea elite running the modern Conservatives. Hot on the heels of Douglas Carswell’s defection to Ukip it would appear that the Conservative Party is losing it’s brightest and best with Cameron leading a soulless husk of a party to certain defeat and electoral disaster at the next election.”
Kelly is a known eurosceptic close to the ‘Better Off Out’ campaign. He is a long-standing supporter of the low-tax group the TaxPayers’ Alliance, and is known to have fallen out with Prime Minister David Cameron over the 2011 European referendum vote in the House of Commons, where Cameron whipped his MPs into voting against the British public having a say on EU membership.
At the time the Mail reported that Kelly “was reportedly reduced to tears after being caught in the crossfire between his millionaire father and a furious David Cameron over a vote to stop Brussels gaining more power over Britain.”
He “was among several anti-EU Tories subjected to a four-letter onslaught by Mr Cameron as he battled to curb last week’s revolt over Europe’s ability to meddle with Parliamentary sovereignty.
“Mr Kelly was among 27 Conservative MPs who defied Mr Cameron in the vote amid reports that he was more terrified of upsetting his father, Tory donor Chris Kelly senior – a leading Thatcherite with robust views on Brussels – than his party leader.”
Kelly was told that he would no longer be considered for a ministerial post under Cameron’s government.
Dudley South is one of UKIP’s secondary target seats.