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Medway councillor Chris Irvine leaves Tories after Rochester and Strood Mark Reckless defects to UKIP

The Conservative councillor for Peninsula ward Chris Irvine has left Medway Council's Conservative Group.

The news was announced yesterday, just a day after Tory MP Mark Reckless defected to UKIP.

Cllr Irvine, who worked in Mark Reckless's constituency office, would not comment on whether he too was switching to the party.

Cllr Chris Irvine
Cllr Chris Irvine

He said: "They've said they've expelled me but they've expelled me after I've left, they couldn't even get that right.

"I will now be considering my position and I will be consulting with residents and getting some feedback from them on what they want me to do and I'll be reflecting on what the future holds."

Cllr Irvine spoke about Medway Council's decision to grant planning permission for 5,000 homes at Lodge Hill on the Hoo Peninsula. At the time, Mark Reckless said he was appalled.

Cllr Irvine said: "If it wasn't for the Lodge Hill decision, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

"After what Mark has done, I think it's the honourable thing to do. The Medway Conservative group only have themselves to blame."

On Saturday, Mr Irvine's name appeared on a new poster backing Mr Reckless' move to UKIP. It said: "Promoted by Chris Irvine, on behalf of Mark Reckless."

Poster promoting Mark Reckless as UKIP candidate
Poster promoting Mark Reckless as UKIP candidate

In an email to Cllr Irvine from Medway Council's deputy leader Alan Jarrett, he said: "I rang you in an attempt to seek your views on your apparent serious breach of group rules.

"Rather than take this opportunity to discuss matters you chose to hang up the telephone.

"Since then I have sought additional information and taken soundings from senior members of the Group, and the unanimous view is that your breach of Group Rules is serious and irredeemable."

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