Popular Conservative councillor Michael Anderson quits party and joins West Suffolk Independents
A long-standing Conservative councillor has quit the party just three months ahead of district elections ‘to be true to himself and residents’.
Michael Anderson emailed West Suffolk Conservative Association bosses to tell them he was leaving the party on Saturday, crossing the floor to join rivals West Suffolk Independents.
“I have decided that in order to remain true to myself and the residents I shall be standing as a West Suffolk Independent,” he said.
“I am still the same person and, if elected, I can act and vote in residents’ best interest.”
Because Newmarket’s wards have been re-drawn with the loss of two councillors, district Conservatives had to cut down their roster and re-interview candidates.
But Cllr Anderson, who won more votes than any other Forest Heath councillor in 2015, said he declined a re-selection interview because he believed ‘there were better ways to find out who was doing a good job’.
“I decided I wasn’t going to stand at all and come out of local politics all together but so many people have said to me to stand,” he said.
After a ‘harsh dressing down’ in Tesco from a constituent urging him to continue and 56 voicemail messages of support, he said he had to put his name forward.
“I’m looking forward to the future,” he said.
Cllr Ruth Allen, leader of the West Suffolk Independents, said: “He has been a conscientious, hard-working councillor for Studlands and the Severals. We are delighted he has decided to join.”
Cllr Andy Drummond, chairman of the party’s Newmarket and District branch, said he was very sad Cllr Anderson had left and praised his work as an ‘excellent constituency councillor’.
“The party’s national guidelines are that every councillor has to be selected and everyone has to attend an interview. Like everyone else, Michael had to go through that process. He was invited to participate and he chose not to,” he said.
Also moving to the West Suffolk Independents is former Conservative councillor Warwick Hirst.