The Yeo Resignation: Outspoken Christian cast as architect of downfall: The Constituency: Steve Boggan in Suffolk South

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The Independent Online
THE DECISION by local Tories to issue a snub to Tim Yeo reflects the influence of their constituency chairman, Patricia FitzPatrick, an outspoken Christian with strong views on morality.

When news broke of Mr Yeo's 'love child', Mrs FitzPatrick, a mother of two, insisted that her views were 'irrelevant'. But last night she was being viewed as one of the architects of his downfall.

Archie Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat county councillor for Samford, which includes Mrs FitzPatrick's village of Stratford St Mary, said she would have found Mr Yeo's behaviour intolerable. Mr Carmichael, Mrs FitzPatrick and her husband, Michael, a surveyor, are all members of St Mary's parochial church council.

Mr Carmichael said: 'Tricia and Michael FitzPatrick and their family live by very strict standards. Given Tricia's views, the outcome of the meeting with Mr Yeo came as no surprise to me.

'She is a very staunch churchgoer and does a lot to raise funds. She is a wonderful person. I would have thought that her views would have overcome any thoughts on 'free living' at the meeting. She is very strong morally and she believes adultery is wrong. I think this will have influenced the outcome of the meeting.'

Mr and Mrs FitzPatrick, who met at a Young Conservatives' function, are regarded locally as being wealthy. They live in a large detached Victorian house in Stratford St Mary.

Brian Ettlinger, the former rector of St Mary's, said Mrs FitzPatrick was 'peerless', regularly doing good works and raising funds for the church.

''I remember the first time I met her,' he said. 'She said she was passionate about politics and I asked which party she supported. She looked at me aghast at the very suggestion that there could be anything other than the one party.'

(Photographs omitted)