Hertsmere Tory councillor quits party over reprimand

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Hertsmere Tory councillor quits party over reprimand

Paul Morris, a Bushey Heath councillor, will now sit as an Independent Conservative after being reprimanded over his role in 'negative hate' campaign, a decision he has appealed against

Cllr Paul Morris
Cllr Paul Morris

A Conservative councillor who was reprimanded over his involvement in a “negative” election campaign that “may well have encouraged” antisemitism has quit the party.

Paul Morris, a Bushey Heath councillor, said he was continuing as an independent due to the length of time an appeal over the decision was taking, adding this was an “appalling process that has taken an inordinate period to resolve and remains in abeyance.”

Cllr Morris and four other Hertsmere Conservative members were reprimanded following an investigation by the Conservative Party Central Office,triggered after the Hertsmere Labour Party accused the Tories of “inciting racial hatred” .

It related to abuse and threats sent to Labour candidate Dan Ozarow, who is Jewish, in the run-up to a by-election in Borehamwood in February 2020.

He was subjected to taunts – including beinglabelled a “Jew c***”, a “Nazi”, and told that he “lacked a Jewish soul” – after a now deleted 2015 article claimed had had signed a letter defending Jeremy Corbyn over antisemitism claims.

Cllr Morris, who will now sit as an Independent Conservative, said: “I have the highest regard for my local Conservative colleagues and will continue to work collaboratively where possible.

“I regret having to take this monumental step particularly as Cllr Ozarow will be of the view he has achieved his goal of disrupting the Conservative administration, however my departure from the party follows an appalling process that has taken an inordinate period to resolve and remains in abeyance.”

Hertsmere Conservative Association  chairman David Wernick added: “We deeply regret the resignation of Cllr Paul Morris OBE from the Conservative Party.

“Paul has served both the Jewish and wider communities of Hertsmere with honour and integrity for many many years and the reasons behind his resignation are a matter of deep regret to all his colleagues.

“We both fully understand and support his position and can only hope that at some point in the future he feels able to return to our Conservative family.”


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