Top Tory defects to UKIP

CONSERVATIVES in Colchester have been dealt a body-blow just weeks before the General Election with the defection of a former party chairman to the UK Independence Party after 40 years as a Tory activist.

Graham Dines

CONSERVATIVES in Colchester have been dealt a body-blow just weeks before the General Election with the defection of a former party chairman to the UK Independence Party after 40 years as a Tory activist.

Ron Levy will be campaigning on behalf of UKIP's candidate John Pitts, accusing David Cameron of “a blatant act of deceit” by not keeping his promise that a Conservative government would hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Colchester is held by the Liberal Democrats' Bob Russell and it is firmly in Mr Cameron's sights because victory would almost certainly guarantee a Tory government.


You may also want to watch:


But in a letter to the current chairman Nick Collins, Mr Levy said: “I have witnessed the party becoming more closely aligned with New Labour, and my hopes that the party would be steered back on to the true Conservative course have become more and more remote.

“I now accept that it is no longer the party that I have supported, and for which I have worked so hard, for almost 40 years.”

Most Read

He said the membership of the European Union was leading Britain towards “the economic and social abyss.

“Now, either David Cameron is too blind to see this or, for some reason, which he refuses to reveal, he is unwilling to so do.

“Mr Cameron hides behind the defence that there was no point in holding a referendum on the Treaty since the Czech Republic had ratified it,” said Mr Levy, who was a delegate to the party's national conference in 2006 and 2007.

“But Mr Cameron always knew that was a possibility yet he continued making the promise of a referendum.

“Surely the honourable course for him to pursue now would be an 'in or out' referendum on our EU membership, thus giving the British people a real and democratic chance to have their say.

“The UK Independence Party embodies all the qualities, objectives and policies that I can support, many of which I expected to see in the Conservative Party. But, most importantly, UKIP now speaks for the huge number - probably millions - of people who believe that membership of the EU is destroying our country and who feel the time has come to leave.”

“So I have made the decision, I have put my country first - and have defected to the UK Independence Party.”

David Campbell Bannerman, UKIP's deputy national chairman and the party's candidate in South Suffolk, said: “The great Tory dam is being breached as voters become disillusioned and disaffected with David Cameron.

“I expect a flood of defectors who see UKIP as upholding the true Tory position.”

Colchester Conservatives last night put a brave face on Mr Levy's resignation. Kevin Bentley, the party's leader on the borough council, said although he was saddened by Mr Levy's resignation, the party in Colchester was campaigning vigorously for a Tory victory.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter