A BNP councillor has quit the party with a blast at its leader, Nick Griffin.
After a lengthy absence from public appearances relating to her council duties, councillor Emma Colgate returned to Thurrock Council’s chamber on Wednesday evening. Her only contribution to the meeting was to second a motion calling for a five per cent voluntary cut in the wages of the authority’s senior officers and she didn’t make any announcement about her change of political affiliation.
However, before the meeting she circulated a letter to the press, announcing she was quitting the BNP – even though she stood by its core principles.
Her statement said: ““It is with deep sadness that I have to inform you that I have resigned my party whip with immediate effect and will be an independent councillor. I have been unhappy with the leadership of the BNP for some time and I feel the direction the current leadership are taking is not in the interest of the public.
“I still stand true to the core values of the BNP and believe it has many good members and supporters but I feel I am no longer able to represent an organisation that is falling apart due to mismanagement. If the current leadership changed hands I would be more than happy to return. I do not feel it is correct to resign my position completely as I only have five months of my term remaining and to force a by-election would be an unnecessary financial burden. I will continue to represent the same values and policies that I was elected under.”
There has been much local speculation about the political future of Miss Colgate in recent times. Earlier this year she stepped down from her position as British National Party staff manager, saying she wanted to concentrate fully on fighting the Thurrock Parliamentary seat for the party in the General Election.
At the time Mr Griffin thanked Ms Colgate for “all her hard work and loyalty. I look forward to seeing her make even more progress in her political role as an outstanding BNP councillor and beyond.” But it was widely reported that there were deep rifts between Miss Colgate and other senior members of the BNP with Mr Griffin.
Locally, since being well beaten in the general election, her profile has been low. Wednesday’s appearance in the chamber for a full council meeting was the first time since June 30 that she had turned up – and her ability to claim her allowance for council duties was in jeopardy had she not turned up for the November council meeting.
It has been reported that several months of mail from constituents are unopened at the council offices, her voicemail is full and e-mails bounce back. Concern has been expressed within her ward that she failed to turn up to the recent Tilbury remembrance service.
Though she didn’t make any announcement of her change of affiliation at the meeting, the Council’s Democratic Services department confirmed they had been informed.