Outgoing Tory MP suspended after publicly backing Reform UK candidate as successor

27 May 2024, 17:44 | Updated: 28 May 2024, 00:06

Telford MP Lucy Allan said she had quit the Conservatives
Telford MP Lucy Allan said she had quit the Conservatives. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

An outgoing Conservative MP has publicly thrown her support behind Reform UK's candidate to be her successor.

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Telford MP Lucy Allan said she had quit the Conservatives in order to support Reform UK's Alan Adams in the seat as he would offer an alternative to "more of the same politics and more of the same politicians".

The Conservatives have since suspended Ms Allan with immediate effect, but she said she had resigned. Hannah Campbell is the candidate in Telford for the Conservatives.

Ms Allen won Telford in 2019 with a majority of 10,941. In 2017, however, the Conservatives won by just 720 after she first won the seat in 2015 with a majority of 730.

Asked about Ms Allan's revolt against the Tories, the Prime Minister said he could "understand people's frustrations" but said any support for Reform would "put Keir Starmer in power".

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In a statement, Ms Allan said: "I have resigned from the Conservative Party to support Alan Adams to be Telford's next MP.

"I have known Alan for many years and he is genuinely the best person for the job. I want the best for Telford and I can't just let the Labour candidate have a walkover. "

She continued: "As a Royal Navy veteran, Alan knows what it means to serve.

"He is the candidate who is most in touch with Telford people and best able to represent them. He will serve all residents, not just those who vote for him.

"Alan is not in it for personal advantage, power, or control over people. Alan's motivation for standing for election is profoundly honourable. He will be honest with Telford and put Telford first.

"Alan gives Telford a choice, so that Telford does not have to settle for more of the same politics and more of the same politicians."

Speaking at a campaign event this afternoon, Mr Sunak told reporters: "I think when it comes to Reform, I understand people's frustrations, but it is very simple: either Keir Starmer or me is going to be Prime Minister on July 5.

"So if you are someone who wants strong borders and wants to get a grip of illegal migration, if you are someone who wants a more pragmatic, serious, hard-headed approach to Net Zero which prioritises energy security and cutting people's bills, I am going to deliver that, not Keir Starmer.

"That is the choice at this election. So for people who are thinking about voting for other parties, but particularly Reform, all that is going to do is put Keir Starmer in power and you are not going to see any change on the issues that you care about."

A Conservative Party spokesman added: "Lucy Allan has been suspended from the party with immediate effect.

"The people of Telford now have the chance to vote for a dedicated and hardworking new candidate who will put Telford first. A vote for Reform is a vote for Keir Starmer."

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during his visit to Amersham and Chiltern RFC, while on the General Election campaign trail, Monday
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks during his visit to Amersham and Chiltern RFC, while on the General Election campaign trail, Monday. Picture: Alamy

A Reform spokesman said: "Of course we are absolutely delighted that she is backing our candidate in Telford.

"She, like many Conservatives, feels that the Reform party represents traditional centre-right values and priorities in a way that the Conservative Party has long forgotten."

Tory peer Lord Goldsmith, an ally of former prime minister Boris Johnson, hit out at Mr Sunak and indicated he believed the Conservatives were on course for an electoral disaster.

"I understand the anger towards Sunak who has damaged the party almost beyond repair and all but guaranteed the majority of his MPs will lose their job next month," the former minister said.

"But it's hard to muster much sympathy given that none of this would have happened without the complicity of a majority of the party and what is now unfolding was entirely predictable - indeed predicted.

"The hope is that when Sunak disappears off to California in a few weeks there are at least some decent MPs left around which to rebuild."

Mr Sunak insisted he would remain in the UK, whether or not he won the election.