Grantham MP quits local Tories but offers to remain as a Conservative MP 'on acceptable terms.'
Grantham MP Nick Boles has resigned from the Grantham and Stamford Conservative Association.
The move, reported on the Conservative Home website this morning, comes after many months of the MP being at loggerheads with Conservatives locally.
Councillors have been widely expecting such a move to happen.
The focus of the discontent has largely been over the issue of the Remain-voting MP's actions over Brexit, which appear to have been the catalyst for other discontent from association members over a lack of 'engagement' with the party and events locally.
This morning, Mr Boles was reported as saying: "“I am not willing to do what would be necessary to restore a reasonable working relationship with a group of people whose values and views are so much at odds with my own”
Will continue to take Tory whip “if it is offered to me on acceptable terms.”
This week, Mr Boles has played a further significant role in defying the government over its plans for Brexit.
The MP who voted Remain in 2016 initially said he accepted the result of the Referendum but has been accused by many within his party for working against it.
His views contrast with many in his constituency who voted 60 per cent leave, with Leave even more popular among his party's rank and file and Conservative councillors, many of whom would be happy with the 'no deal' that Mr Boles opposes.
His comments before Christmas to resign the Conservative whip should the government go for a no deal Brexit sparked uproar.
Within weeks, Grantham and Stamford Association chairman Philip Sagar said he received messages from hundreds of Conservative Party members and supporters who told them they felt 'utterly betrayed' by Mr Boles.
Mr Boles then accused the local association of being infiltrated by UKIP supporters- something denied by Mr Sagar. He also gave newspaper interviews criticising the party locally and nationally, attacking Brexiteer MPs as 'zealots'.
This month, Mr Boles continued his work with opposition MPs, including Labour's Yvette Cooper and Hilary Benn, sometimes saying he felt closer to some Labour members than some in the Conservative Party.
His meeting last week with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, coming as it did when plans had been announced to downgrade Grantham Hospital's A&E department was not popular with Conservatives, or voters, many of whom believed his Brexit efforts came at the expense of 'saving' Grantham Hospital.
In recent days, association members have further said they would not support Mr Boles, nor would they campaign for him. They did not see him as an effective constituency MP.
Mr Boles had been given three weeks to tell the association whether or not he intended standing again for the next general election.
This time passed in recent days and it is understood the MP had been given until the time of the association AGM to state his intentions.
This week, the MP has sparked uproar with his comments over a no deal brexit .
He said: " We will then do whatever it takes to frustrate you. We will vote to stop no-deal Brexit on 29th March. We will vote to extend Article 50 for a few months. And we will then work with opposition parties to build a majority for a softer Brexit deal."
Yesterday, he fuelled further anger, especially from constituents with his comments concerning how this week's voting went.
He said: "It’s frustrating to have lost so narrowly but we have achieved our main goals: to stop no-deal Brexit on 29th March, to get the PM to seek an Article 50 extension and to secure amendable motion on 25th March so MPs can start debating Brexit compromises."
Then last night, the MP tweeted:"If the PM’s deal passes next week, I’m expecting a dukedom at the very least..."
Grantham and Stamford Conservative Association vice-president Coun Martin Hill commented: "As you are all aware Nick has been at odds with the local party and the Prime Minister for some time, so this announcement does not come as a complete surprise but the timing does leave at lot to be desired.
"I understand that it is Mr Boles intention to carry on as the MP for Grantham and Stamford until the next General Election despite being elected to represent us in Parliament.
"Our Association AGM will be on March 28th where we can begin the process of selecting a new candidate to represent us at the next election or earlier if Mr Boles takes the honourable course and resigns his seat.
"This is very disappointing for us all as once again we have been betrayed by our parliamentary representative but I am confident that we will continue to work together to support the Conservative cause in this part of Lincolnshire.
More by this authorDarren Greenwood