Tory in North Shropshire defects to Laurence Fox’s Reclaim because Boris Johnson’s party ‘too soft’

‘The Conservatives aren’t conservative any more’, says Reclaim’s first elected official

Adam Forrest
Monday 06 December 2021 14:24
<p>Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox </p>

Reclaim Party leader Laurence Fox

A Conservative councillor in North Shropshire has defected to an “anti-woke” right-wing party of lockdown sceptics run by the former actor Laurence Fox.

Anthony Allen has decided to quit Boris Johnson’s party and join Reclaim instead – saying the Tories were “too soft” on immigration and obsessed with green taxes.

Having only been a Tory councillor in Market Drayton since winning a seat in May, he becomes the Reclaim Party’s first elected official.

The embarrassment comes as the Tories look to win the North Shropshire by-election caused by the resignation of Owen Paterson after he was found to have broken parliamentary lobbying rules.

In a statement Mr Allen said: “I’ve resigned my membership to the Tory party and joined the Reclaim Party. The Conservatives simply aren’t conservative any more.”

The 45-year-old cab company owner said his former party had “gone soft on illegal immigration, they’ve lost control of taxation and are obsessed with crippling green taxes nobody wants”.

Mr Fox, the party leader who made an unsuccessful bid to become London mayor earlier this year, said: “Anthony is our first councillor, but – watch this space – he won’t be our last.”

The former star of crime drama Lewis added: “I’d urge any other dissatisfied councillors out there to get in touch.”

Describing himself as someone who “used” to be actor, Mr Fox and supporters appeared at a mayoral campaign events without wearing masks – railing against all mandatory Covid restrictions.

Mr Fox also claimed that he would refuse to get the Covid jab until after 2023 – when he claims all the tests needed to convince him of its safety would be completed.

The fringe party has also attempted to make freedom of speech and the protection of historic statues vote-winning issues.

Mr Allen’s Facebook page shows he recently threw support behind Reclaim’s North Shropshire by-election candidate Martin Daubney, saying he was “fed up” with politicians “deflecting away” from sensitive issues.

The Lib Dems believe that local anger over sleaze and underperforming ambulance services may give them an opportunity to win a surprise victory in North Shropshire at next Thursday’s by-election.

Internal party polling seen by The Independent has given strategists hope that they could be within reach of another breakthrough, despite the fact that Mr Paterson held a majority of almost 23,000 for the Tory Party.

Canvassing returns show Lib Dems in a better position among postal voters than at the same point in the Chesham and Amersham campaign, with the gap closing by seven points in the last week alone, the party said.

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