There are now no Conservatives left on St Ives Town Council in Cornwall after deputy mayor Kenny Messenger resigned as a Tory councillor at a meeting last night (Thursday, February 15), saying that the party he once loved is now “full of political pygmies”. 

He left the party four months after the town’s mayor Johnnie Wells also resigned as a Conservative.

Cllr Messenger told the mayor and fellow councillors: “As you will recall, I announced at our September meeting that I was one more farce, fiasco or disgrace away from resigning as a Conservative councillor.

“Well, all three have happened in one email from the Conservative Party on January 18. It says we are allowing three million Brits who emigrated 15 years ago to vote in the next General Election. That, in my opinion, is gerrymandering the election system, to get elected through the back door.

"For God’s sake, lose gracefully. So it is with regret and a lot of soul searching that I announce my resignation as a Conservative councillor.”

He added: “The party I joined in 1976 was full of political giants and well-respected individuals. Today’s party is full of political pygmies who are not fit to lace the boots of politicians of all parties from the 1970s, ’80s or ’90s.

"People like Grant Shapps is a Cabinet minister of all trades and a master of none. They think more about themselves than their constituents.

“I have decided enough is enough. I haven’t taken this decision lightly, but next year I will be seeking re-election as an Independent.”

His resignation from the Tories came after the town’s mayor Johnnie Wells resigned from the party at a council meeting in September to cheers and claps from other councillors and members of the public.

Cllr Wells, who has continued as an independent member of St Ives Town Council, said: “I just feel that for me, in St Ives and for Cornwall, an independent role is better. Being a Conservative was becoming an issue. It was putting up more barriers than it was taking down. People would kind of shut off to you pretty quickly, so it was becoming more of a hindrance than a help.”

Cllr Messenger responded to his colleague’s resignation at the time, telling his fellow councillors: “As the last Tory standing, I resign.... wait for it... I resign as the Tory group leader because I can’t be a leader of myself. All joking aside, I respect and admire the Mayor’s decision to become an Independent during the rest of his term of office.

“I am hanging on by the skin of my teeth being a Tory councillor, because I believe the Tory Government and Tory Cornwall Council have become deluded and out of touch with reality, and living in cloud cuckoo land.”