Tory will stand as Independent

DE-SELECTED Tory county councillor Rodney Cann is to stand as an Independent candidate in June's elections, it emerged last night (Tuesday). He will try to retain his Fremington Rural seat, which he has held for eight years for the Conservatives. His majo

DE-SELECTED Tory county councillor Rodney Cann is to stand as an Independent candidate in June's elections, it emerged last night (Tuesday).He will try to retain his Fremington Rural seat, which he has held for eight years for the Conservatives. His majority at the last election was 996.Mr Cann was de-selected by North Devon Conservative Association last month following his support for a unitary authority for Devon.His place was taken by district councillor John Gill, who said a unitary authority would be "an absolute disaster" for North Devon.Mr Cann said in a statement he had been moved by the strength of support from residents and the offers of help he had received. The county elections are due to be held on June 4."My de-selection should be seen in perspective," he said. "At the time, there were only 34 fully paid-up Conservatives in the whole of the Fremington Rural Ward, which has a population of 10,500. Most of the people who made the final decision to de-select me do not live in Fremington or anywhere near. There is no valid political, ethical or moral reason that can be proposed to satisfactorily justify my de-selection. "It was a clash of personalities and ambitions within the Conservatives that has led to this outcome."While I am instinctively a Conservative, my philosophy is to serve the community I am elected to represent before any other agenda."Mr Cann is also a Conservative member and portfolio holder of North Devon Council. It remains to be seen whether his decision to stand as an Independent will affect his status on that authority.Cllr Des Brailey, Leader of North Devon Council and a member of the management committee of North Devon Conservative Association, said yesterday: "While I am sorry that this has come to a head in this way, I feel that a democratic decision was made by the Conservative Association and that decision has to stand."If Rodney decides to take another course of action, then he must also accept any consequences.


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