Our Conservative Party Member of Parliament resigned from the Conservative Party last week. She now represents Totnes (Devon, UK) as an Independent MP.
This marks an historic moment in the political developments of this Devon constituency in the West country of England.
The decision of Dr. Sarah Wollaston to resign from the Conservative Party marks the potential for a new political landscape in the constituency.
It is nearly 100 years since Totnes last elected an MP in Parliament, who is neither a Conservative or Unionist.
(I stood as the Green Party candidate for the Totnes constituency in 1986 and 1992. Have lived in Totnes for 37 years. I am a supporter of the Totnes Reconomy Centre).
This wallah describes himself as a “Lukewarm Remainer.” The EU requires radical change. The EU Parliament and bureaucracy neglected for years the needs of the working class, the unemployed and refugees, which created the conditions for the Brexit vote and for the far right to emerge in much of Europe.
Free from the Conservative Party whip, Dr. Wollaston has the opportunity to express an independent voice in keeping with the spirit of Totnes.
Many of us in and around the town prefer non-party political campaigns for change rather than party politics. We can now welcome more contact with our new Independent MP.
There are long standing members of the local Conservative Party who feel let down by their MP, but they will not take kindly to a gradual takeover of the local party by hard-line Conservatives with hard right tendencies.
“There has been a persistent and ugly campaign for a year by the Leave.EU, a hard right organisation, to deselect our MP. The Electoral Commission fined Leave.EU a total of £70,000 and referred their Chief Executive to the police for criminal investigation for its offences in the UK.
Totnes has an international reputation for community values, tolerance and a sustainable way of life. The model of Transition Town Totnes developed in more than 600 towns and cities worldwide.
Our new Independent MP can listen and learn more of the needs and concerns of the community including its local, social and environmental campaigns. We welcome our first local MP in living memory to support a progressive and outward looking approach.
Totnes was one of the few places in Devon and Cornwall, who voted to remain in the EU. An opinion poll in April 2018 said that 15% of those in Devon, who voted to leave the EU, have changed their mind. Our MP also voted to leave in July 2016 and has since changed her mind.
The Totnes Conservative Party need to realise it has a major responsibility to select a new moderate candidate for the next general election.
The Tories would be in real danger of losing their Totnes seat if they select a candidate associated with the right wing of the Party or a former member of UKIP, who has joined the Party.
Two previous local Conservative MPs have left office with their reputation damaged.
An MP must reflect the views of the majority of the constituents not a handful of Conservative Party members out of touch with the progressive values of Totnes.
Dr. Wollaston concerns about the ‘aggressive’ practices with sections of the the Conservative Party and its ‘drift’ to the right probably reflects the views of many in her Totnes constituency including traditional Conservative voters.
I left Totnes on 29 January for rural India to offer retreats and our school meeting. I had been out of touch with Brexit while away. I took the train down from London last Friday (22 February). Upon arrival, I saw the Totnes Times newspaper with its main front-page story: MP SARAH RESIGNS FROM TORY PARTY. Phew.
The divisions and conflicts with the major parties are impacting on local parties.
We welcome our first Independent MP!