Before the funeral of Cllr Stuart Earl is an insensitive time for Bexhill Tories to give out campaigning leaflets

From: Ethan Ducut, Glenleigh Park Road, Bexhill

Monday, 3rd December 2018, 8:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:55 am

In recent weeks the local Conservative Party seems to be getting a little bit more out of hand than usual.

First, there was your report (Observer, 23 November) of Cllr Ian Jenkins’ defection from the Tory to the Independent benches.

Not being familiar with Cllr Jenkins, my first response was to go to Rother’s website and look up his CV. Impressive is an understatement. First elected in 2003, during his 15 years as a Conservative he has held some prestigious posts including chair of Overview and Scrutiny Committee, two stints as a Cabinet Member, and council chair.

One would have thought that Rother Tories could ill-afford to lose whatever talent they might still have on the council over a spat about who wants to fight for which seat at the next election, but this was the official explanation for Cllr Jenkins’s departure issued by Tory leader, Carl Maynard.

Second, an election will need to take place in St Mark’s Ward to fill the vacancy left by the sad passing of Cllr Stuart Earl, who served as an Independent.

St Mark’s Tories managed to deliver their newsletter kicking off this election campaign, announcing their election team, before Cllr Earl’s funeral had taken place.

“Bad manners” doesn’t begin to describe their awful lack of decorum.

Third, the actual content of the prematurely-distributed Tory flyer leaves more to be desired than I have room for here. Let me give an example of the current Tory mire, and their approach to this upcoming election.

Stuart Earl served as a Conservative on Rother Council from 2001 to 2005.

Family and business pressures kept him out of local politics until 2011 when he stood again for election, but as an Independent not a Tory because, in his own words, “Democracy does not exist in Rother and many other places because of the party whip and the cabinet system”.

As an Indie he increased his majority.

In their prematurely-distributed election manifesto, local Tories said “Following the passing of Stuart Earl we are keen to continue his legacy in ensuring residents in Little Common and Normans Bay are truly represented”.

What on earth are they talking about? Stuart was not a Tory, and local Tories are the very people who are least qualified to “continue his legacy”.

Local people felt that they could rely on Stuart to represent them, which is precisely why they didn’t vote Tory. Kenward and Kentfield are trying to cash in on the reputation of a well-respected and much-loved individual. How dare they?

St Mark’s Tories should be ashamed of themselves.