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Rainham North Councillor Vaughan Hewett resigns from Medway Conservative group

By Chris Hunter

Rainham North Councillor Vaughan Hewett has resigned from Medway's Conservative group, saying he "can't be whipped by the current whip."

Cllr Hewett wrote to group leader Rodney Chambers saying the election of group whip David Carr, earlier this month, was inappropriate.

"I cannot accept the whip from someone who, in my opinion, is inappropriate for the work required this coming year," he wrote, adding: "During the next 11 months, I will be concentrating my efforts on my constituents as an independent Conservative."

Speaking to the Medway Messenger he said he wouldn't elaborate on the decision.

"I’m a modern Conservative," he said. "We don’t criticise people, we respect how they vote.

"I do a lot of rock climbing - like on any mountain, you work your way around the problem."

But he hinted that controversial remarks made by Cllr Carr last year were at the root of his decision, adding: "That sums up where I’m coming from but I don’t want to be drawn into it."

Last year Cllr Carr was suspended from his role as cabinet member for community safety after saying that travellers "screw everything up."

Cllr David Carr

He went on to say: "I would have no hesitation in strategising a solution for travellers if travellers were going to be responsible community inhabitants, but that in itself is questionable against their name – 'travellers'. If they're going to travel they can hardly become part of the integrated community.

"They move on and turn it into a building site. They crap all over the place, they p*ss over the field, they throw rubbish all over the place."

At the time, Cllr Hewett, who had also served as mayor, said the comments were "more akin to Nick Griffin and the BNP."

He added: “I’ve worn the mayor’s badge for a year, and on it, it has the motto “forward together”. How on earth can you come out with a radical statement like that as a former mayor?”

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