Thetford councillor resigns from Labour group over EU referendum and 'wet flannel' Miliband

PUBLISHED: 15:57 18 June 2012

Thetford Abbey councillor Carl Clark will now sit as an independent on Breckland Council

Thetford Abbey councillor Carl Clark will now sit as an independent on Breckland Council

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A Thetford councillor today resigned from the Labour council group after dismissing Ed Miliband as a "wet flannel" and calling for a referendum on EU membership.

Carl Clark will now sit as an independent councillor representing Thetford Abbey ward, and has dismissed calls from his former colleagues to resign and fight a by-election under his new status.

Independent councillor Pauline Quadling last year topped the poll in the ward, and Mr Clark was seven votes ahead of fellow Labour candidate Brenda Canham, who was not elected. He received 20 votes more than the Conservative candidate.

The 47 year old pastoral worker at The Bishops Church of England School in Thetford said: “I have never really been Labour. They asked me a week before the election if I wanted to go with Labour. I was not even a member before. I’m just very against the EU because it’s brought this country down,”

He also said he opposed Labour’s abortion policy and selection policy for county council election candidates, and criticised national party leader Ed Miliband.

He said: “I have never seen a poorer leader. He is like a wet flannel. I can’t believe he is leading the Labour Party. I met him and he could not even look you in the eyes. He looked at the floor and talked about what he was briefed on.”

But he said local Labour party members were “lovely”, and added: “I just want to thank the Labour Party for the help they have given me up to now. They have helped me and they advised me on certain things, but toeing the party line you can’t say what you really feel. I want to say certain things and I’m told I can’t say this or post that.”

Mr Clark’s decision leaves Labour with three councillors on Breckland Council.

Group leader Terry Jermy said: “I am naturally disappointed that Carl has chosen to leave the Labour Party, but it is an unfortunate fact that people can fall out of favour with the party they once supported.

“Just over 12 months ago Carl was elected as a Labour councillor for the Abbey Ward and was supported by the party in doing so, and he has been helped ever since with training and guidance.

“The honourable thing for Carl to do now would be to resign his seat and contest it once again as an Independent, or under the colours of a new party, and I would urge him to do this.

“A great many Abbey Ward residents would have voted for Carl as their Labour representative and he has a moral responsibility to not abuse their support now that he has changed his allegiances.”

In April, Mr Clark was disqualified from carrying the Olympic flame when organisers found he was a councillor.

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