Conservative councillors refuse to participate in European elections

A union flag and European flag outside the Houses of Parliament. (PA/Kirsty O'Connor)

A union flag and European flag outside the Houses of Parliament. (PA/Kirsty O'Connor) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A ruling Conservative group on a county council have said they will not take part in the European elections - including supporting party colleagues hoping to become MEPs.

The group at Derbyshire County Council have said they will take 'no part' in the May poll believing they 'should not be happening'.

Barry Lewis, who had led the authority since May 2017, said he had informed party chairman Brandon Lewis of the decision which had received overwhelming support from his colleagues.

He said: 'This was not an easy decision to take and goes against every natural instinct we have as Conservatives to support our hardworking MEPs and candidates.'

'However, we were promised, following the largest public mandate a UK government has ever received that we would be out by the 29th March.

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'The prime minister said we would be out by that date countless times, so did many others in government and yet here we are racing towards the end of April and facing an increased prospect of participating in a European Election in May that should not be happening.'

As an extension to the Brexit process has been granted until October, the UK is obliged to elect 73 MEPs to the European Parliament who will sit until Britain leaves on October 31 or when the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified in the Commons.

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Lewis also said that the discussions between the Conservatives and Labour about Brexit should not be happening.

He said: 'Whether you voted to Leave or Remain, the vast majority of people recognise there is a democratic obligation to deliver what was promised and that government should not abdicate their promise to deliver it.

'I informed Brandon that inviting Jeremy Corbyn to the table in an attempt to pass a deal was in our view a serious mistake for the prime minister and, consequently, our party.

'Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under him, deserve no credibility.'

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