Snubbed Blackpool councillor reveals why he has joined new party
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Coun Derek Robertson, who has represented Waterloo ward for the Tories since winning a by-election in 2014, has formally resigned from the Conservative Party and joined the political movement founded with support from Nigel Farage.
It was revealed last month Coun Robertson had been deselected by the Blackpool South Conservative Association to stand as one of its candidates at next May’s local elections.
Coun Robertson remains on the council and is currently a non-aligned independent.
He said: “I was very disappointed at being deselected and I no longer have any confidence in the Conservative Party in South Shore, and I think nationally the Conservatives are failing to make the right decisions for the country.
“I have joined the Reform Party because I think they are an up and coming group that are going to do well in the future. They are more Conservative than the Conservatives.
“The Reform Party wants to sort out the country and fix the NHS and resolve the migrants issue.
“In the meantime I am carrying on with my work in the ward where I have campaigned on issues including road safety, residents parking, fly tipping and to get new toilets in South Shore.”
The Conservative Party has selected former serviceman Jim O’Neill and local businessman Chris Higgitts as its candidates for Waterloo ward at the next local elections.
Coun Bradley Mitchell, chairman of the Blackpool South Conservative Association, thanked Coun Robertson for his work but said there had been a high standard of candidates wishing to stand and members of the selection panel “did not believe Derek met the required standard.”
The right wing Reform Party began life in 2018 as the Brexit Party before being renamed in January 2021.
Labour remains the biggest group on Blackpool Council with 20 councillors, while the Conservatives have 14 councillors, the Independents have three, and there are five non-aligned independents.
All 42 town hall seats are up for re-election next May, with two councillors for each of the 21 wards, serving for a period of four years.