Cllr Julie Jones-Evans of Newport Central ward announced yesterday evening (Sunday) that she has not renewed her membership with the Conservative party, which expired on 1st January.
In a statement issued, Cllr Jones-Evans said:
“Recent events in and outside the council chamber have crystalised my hitherto unexpressed thoughts with regard to the role of the party system in local government. I have no regrets about having been a member of the Conservative Party and council group. There will be many things that I will miss. I have made good friends, share many of the same values, have gained valuable experience and have had opportunities to develop my skills.
“However, at this moment in time I believe I need to be free and unconstrained in my actions as an elected representative for Newport Central. In fact, I was first elected as such in 2008 and I believe that I served my residents extremely effectively at that time. I sincerely hope that they will respect my decision to return to my roots and that they will continue to support me as a non-political voice for their issues and concerns”.
Commenting on the decision of Cllr Julie Jones-Evans not to renew her membership of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association, Cllr Chris Whitehouse, (Conservative, Newport West) said:
“Julie has been a hard-working, effective and popular member of the Conservative Group of Councillors. Her efforts as Chairman of Newport Parish Council on behalf of the local community are tremendous. All the residents of Newport have reason to be grateful to her.
“Julie will be missed as a member of the Conservative Party, though she will continue to be a valued friend of Conservative councillors. It is a tragedy that the ridiculous antics of a handful of senior members of the Isle of Wight Conservative Association, led by its so-called Chairman, Alan Wells, have so sapped her morale, and that of many other Conservative Association members, that it is now clear that the cabal in question is working directly against the interests of the Conservative Party. The Conservative Group of Councillors supports Andrew Turner as our candidate and will be working for his successful return to Westminster in the coming General Election.
“I for one will be continuing to work closely with Julie Jones-Evans as a neighbouring member of the Isle of Wight Council, as a good personal friend, and as a longstanding community champion. Her decision is sad, but comes as no surprise.”
Cllr Jones-Evans, who is Chairman of the Newport Parish Council, has confirmed she will not be joining any other party or the ruling Independent group.