Two elected councillors have defected away from Britain’s governing Conservatives, but somewhat bizarrely both moves came on the same day, in the same local association, but to two different parties.
Announcements for two defections came Monday, first from the Reclaim Party, a new libertarian party created by actor Laurence Fox, and again just hours later from the Reform Party, the renamed Brexit Party founded by Nigel Farage and now led by Richard Tice.
A statement seen by Breitbart London from Fox’s Reclaim party notes that former Conservative-turned-Reclaimer Anthony Allen is the party’s first “first elected official” — even if he was elected to a different party. By the party’s own reckoning, the defection of the councillor constitutes a “by-election bombshell”, given it comes just three days before the North Shropshire by-election, which will select a new member of Parliament for the area.
The Reform party, meanwhile, claimed the deputy mayor of North Shropshire town Market Drayton, with Councillor Mark Whittle (pictured) defecting from the Conservatives. Both defectors are army veterans.
Exclusive — Richard Tice: Boris Johnson Doesn’t Have the ‘Political Guts’ to Stop Illegal Immigration https://t.co/QfllrW8NBL
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 18, 2021
Both parties commended their own candidates in the upcoming by-election — triggered by the resignation of Conservative veteran and Brexiteer Owen Paterson — with Reclaim’s Fox boosting freedom of speech concerns in the Conservative Party and society generally, and Reform’s Whittle criticising the Conservatives for putting forward a candidate in the election who was parachuted in from central office and is not familiar with local issues.
Taxi-cab company owner Allen said of his decision to leave the Conservatives and join Reclaim: “The Conservatives simply aren’t conservative anymore. They’ve gone too soft on illegal immigration, they’ve lost control of taxation and are obsessed with crippling green taxes nobody wants.”
Reform and Reclaim have run on a joint platform in the past — in the 2021 London Mayoral Elections for instance, where both Farage and Tice backed Reclaim’s Fox and professed similar electoral aims — and it may be that the parties running against one another in this contest will diminish their ability to meaningfully oppose the Conservative candidate. At the last election in 2019, the Conservatives held the safe seat of North Shropshire with a considerable 62 per cent of the vote, a 23,000 majority.