Former councillor who cannot support 'lying' leader quits Conservative party

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Former Rishton councillor, Martin Miller has stood down from the Conservative party
Former Rishton councillor, Martin Miller has stood down from the Conservative party

A former councillor has quit the Conservative party, saying he cannot support Boris Johnson after the Partygate scandal.

Michael Miller branded the Prime Minister as having “no integrity or honesty” and called the party leader a "liar" after announcing he will be standing as an independent in the Great Harwood by-election.

The former Rishton councillor lost his seat in the Hyndburn Council local elections last, month and has since quit the Conservative party.

Speaking about the Prime Ministers' speeches in the House of Commons and the investigations into Partygate, Mr Miller said: “It's not something I can condone.

Lancashire Telegraph: andout photo dated 19/06/20 issued by the Cabinet Office showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) at a gathering in the Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street on his birthday, which was released with the publication of Sue's Gray report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown.
Lancashire Telegraph: andout photo dated 19/06/20 issued by the Cabinet Office showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) at a gathering in the Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street on his birthday, which was released with the publication of Sue's Gray report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown.

andout photo dated 19/06/20 issued by the Cabinet Office showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) at a gathering in the Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street on his birthday, which was released with the publication of Sue's Gray report into Downing Street parties in Whitehall during the coronavirus lockdown.

“The Queen was sat on her own for the funeral of her husband as were many others who couldn't say goodbye to their relatives because of Covid restrictions and he is doing the hokey pokey and having a right good knees up.

“I just can’t support a guy who has no integrity and honesty.

“I would have respected the man if he had said right at the start ‘I have been caught out’ – instead he has tried to change the rules and hide behind investigations.

“It is just not acceptable behaviour. He was lying to the general public."

Mr Miller also noted he is of yet to see any benefits to residents in the borough as a result of Johnson's Conservative government's ‘levelling up’ agenda.

Lancashire Telegraph: Cllr Marlene Howarth has said she is 'sorry' to have lost Michael Miller from the party
Lancashire Telegraph: Cllr Marlene Howarth has said she is 'sorry' to have lost Michael Miller from the party

Cllr Marlene Howarth has said she is 'sorry' to have lost Michael Miller from the party

Boris Johnson has denied on numerous occasions having lied to parliament and was issued with a fixed penalty notice for attending a birthday party in 10 Downing Street organised by his wife, Carrie Johnson, in 2020, which was also attended by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mrs Johnson and Sunak were both also fined for breaking the Covid laws the Prime Minister wrote by attending his party.

This is the most recent resignation in the borough, which has seen a number of members of the Labour party stand down, including council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson, in recent months.

Cllr Paddy Short, now independent, and his partner Caroline Montague, also independent, have quit Hyndburn Labour, while Michael Hindley, who has resigned from the council, all also stood down from the Labour party earlier this year.

Cllr Marlene Howarth, leader of the Conservative party did not wish to comment on Mr Miller's exit from the party, but said that he was a good councillor and that she is "sorry to lose him".

She said: “He stood for the Conservative party in May for Rishton ward when Partygate was all going on; after he lost his seat, he then resigned.

“Whatever his reason, I am sorry to lose him. He was a good councillor but we have to move forward.

“In regard to levelling up, we will soon be submitting a bid of £20 million to the Government which will be presented by MP Sara Britcliffe.

Lancashire Telegraph: Accrington Town Hall
Lancashire Telegraph: Accrington Town Hall

Accrington Town Hall

“If successful, it will bring about improvements to the borough.”

Also commenting on Michael Miller’s resignation, Labour deputy leader Melissa Fisher believes his resignation and standing as an independent is out of “protest”.

She said: “Considering we are now under a new Labour leadership in the group and that we are moving forward, we believe a Conservative councillor standing down and standing as an independent from the party means there must be chaos and disagreements happening within the group.

“We believe it is actually a protest.”

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