A former Lancaster Mayor and leader of the council says he has resigned from the Conservative Party over “unacceptable” campaigning methods and to preserve his personal integrity.
Coun Roger Mace, who has been involved with the party since the 1960s and is a founder member of the Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservative Association, said he has found it “impossible to come to terms with the way the party is developing”.
Last year, Coun Mace, who represents Kellet Ward on Lancaster City Council, was told his application to stand in the upcoming elections on May 2 had been unsuccessful.
He appealed the decision but this too was unsuccessful.
Other Conservative councillors, including the current leader, have also been told they will not be allowed to stand for the party in the upcoming elections.
Coun Mace became leader of Lancaster City Council in 2007, the first Conservative leader for 17 years.
However he resigned in 2009 due to “carping, bickering and political point scoring” within the cabinet.
In a letter to the Lancaster Guardian Coun Mace said: “Having been an active Conservative supporter all my adult life, including being a deliverer of election leaflets since the 1960s, a joint author of a Conservative Political Centre Pamphlet in the 1970s, and a founder member of the Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservative Association, I have found it impossible to come to terms with the way the party is developing.
“Some members of the local party have moved away from the post-war political traditions and respect for others that have characterised my approach to politics from the left of the Conservative Party.
“I remain a City Councillor, and I have no quarrel or disagreement with the remaining members of the Conservative Group on Lancaster City Council, of which I have for some years been deputy leader, but I can no longer work alongside those local party officials whose recent actions and campaigning methods I
have found unacceptable.
“It has not been an easy decision for me after being for twenty years a Conservative Lancaster City Councillor, and the only Conservative to lead the Council in a generation, but I am obliged with immediate effect to resign from the Conservative Party, from the Morecambe and Lunesdale Conservative Association, and
from the Conservative Group on Lancaster City Council in order to preserve my personal integrity and my freedom of action.”
The Conservative Party has been contacted for comment.