Derbyshire Tories boycott EU elections over Brexit chaos | UK News

Conservative councillors in Derbyshire have voted to go on “strike” and not help candidates campaign in the upcoming European elections, in an extraordinary show of local defiance to the national party.

Every one of the 37 Tory councillors at Derbyshire County Council are in support of the boycott, meaning that hundreds of activists will not deliver leaflets or canvass for the party’s candidates in the run up to the elections on 23 May.

Council leader Barry Lewis: “I suppose it is described in one way as going on strike, to not take part in a campaign for an election like this.

“It is with a heavy heart – we are an activist group at Derbyshire County Council, we want to support our candidates – but we simply cannot go against the wishes of the people.

“What we’re hearing on the doorstep is… why haven’t we got Brexit over the line?”

Activists will not deliver leaflets in Derbyshire
Activists will not deliver leaflets in Derbyshire

Mr Lewis, who has been involved in the party since he was 14, said he had written to Conservative Party headquarters about their stance but had not had a response.

He added: “We have fantastic, hard-working Conservative MEPs in Derbyshire but this was about not delivering that democratic mandate, that Leave vote on the 29 March this year.

“We felt we should have been out of the EU by now and that the prime minister and the government should have moved mountains to make that so.

“I think there’s a groundswell among activists across the country who feel very much like we do.”

Donald Tusk: Do not waste this time

Earlier this month, Theresa May agreed a delay to Brexit until Halloween after EU leaders offered another extension to Article 50.

She acknowledged the “huge frustration from many people” that she had to ask for another delay, which followed three defeats in parliament for her withdrawal agreement.

The prime minister previously said: “The UK should have left the EU by now and I sincerely regret the fact that I have not yet been able to persuade parliament to approve a deal which would allow the UK to leave in a smooth and orderly way.

“But the choices we now face are stark and the timetable is clear.

“So we must now press on at pace with our efforts to reach a consensus on a deal that is in the national interest.”

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