Thetford councillor resigns from Labour group over EU referendum and ‘wet flannel’ Miliband

PUBLISHED: 15:57 18 June 2012

Thetford Abbey councillor Carl Clark will now sit as an independent on Breckland Council

Thetford Abbey councillor Carl Clark will now sit as an independent on Breckland Council

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2012

A Thetford councillor today resigned from the Labour council group after dismissing Ed Miliband as a “wet flannel” and calling for a referendum on EU membership.

Carl Clark will now sit as an independent councillor representing Thetford Abbey ward, and has dismissed calls from his former colleagues to resign and fight a by-election under his new status.

Independent councillor Pauline Quadling last year topped the poll in the ward, and Mr Clark was seven votes ahead of fellow Labour candidate Brenda Canham, who was not elected. He received 20 votes more than the Conservative candidate.

The 47 year old pastoral worker at The Bishops Church of England School in Thetford said: “I have never really been Labour. They asked me a week before the election if I wanted to go with Labour. I was not even a member before. I’m just very against the EU because it’s brought this country down,”

He also said he opposed Labour’s abortion policy and selection policy for county council election candidates, and criticised national party leader Ed Miliband.

He said: “I have never seen a poorer leader. He is like a wet flannel. I can’t believe he is leading the Labour Party. I met him and he could not even look you in the eyes. He looked at the floor and talked about what he was briefed on.”

But he said local Labour party members were “lovely”, and added: “I just want to thank the Labour Party for the help they have given me up to now. They have helped me and they advised me on certain things, but toeing the party line you can’t say what you really feel. I want to say certain things and I’m told I can’t say this or post that.”

Mr Clark’s decision leaves Labour with three councillors on Breckland Council.

Group leader Terry Jermy said: “I am naturally disappointed that Carl has chosen to leave the Labour Party, but it is an unfortunate fact that people can fall out of favour with the party they once supported.

“Just over 12 months ago Carl was elected as a Labour councillor for the Abbey Ward and was supported by the party in doing so, and he has been helped ever since with training and guidance.

“The honourable thing for Carl to do now would be to resign his seat and contest it once again as an Independent, or under the colours of a new party, and I would urge him to do this.

“A great many Abbey Ward residents would have voted for Carl as their Labour representative and he has a moral responsibility to not abuse their support now that he has changed his allegiances.”

In April, Mr Clark was disqualified from carrying the Olympic flame when organisers found he was a councillor.


  • Carl Clark should have never accepted the Labour whip. He is not Independent, Independents get their mandate from the people, not a dogmatic party wedded to the vested interests that pulls their strings. Carl is no different to Nevergreen P. Hardy or any other turncoat.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Friday, June 22, 2012

  • Carl, there is lots of support for UKIP in your area. Stuart Agnew (a wonderful man) is your local MEP. You aren't very far from Great Yarmouth where we just put up a full slate of candidates and only missed out on election by small numbers of votes. The party has two famous figures from the boxing industry on board already. Many councillors have taken the brave step in the past few months leaving shell parties like the conservatives and labour to come to UKIP. As in the name 'Independence Party' we are keen on liberty and whilst we have some guidelines when it comes to standing as a UKIP candidate you won't be forced to be something you're not. We're also very strong on leaving the EU of course...

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    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

  • Wet flannels come in handy every now and again.Still preferable to Flashman.

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    Peter Watson

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

  • Mr Clark - this is nothing personal -- and I am neither a Thetford resident nor a Labour Party member -- but I think you should consider standing for re-election if you are changing or renouncing your party allegiance. Look at ongoing scandal in Norwich regarding Philip Hardy's defection from the Greens to the Conservatives, and his refusal to call a by-election. This is the kind of thing that brings local democracy into disrepute. If we really want local people to feel more involved in local politics and to turn out in larger numbers to vote in local elections, councillors in your position have got to be braver.

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    Trevor Ashwin

    Thursday, June 21, 2012

  • nuLabour, the damp rag party.

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    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

  • I thank Terry Jermy for the help he has given me over the past year, after asking over 50% of the people who voted for me, none did it on a party basis, they did it for the work with the Boxing and Bike clubs I operate.

    Report this comment

    Carl Clark

    Tuesday, June 19, 2012

  • Yes, Carl you are obviously a good local councillor and it would be so much better if people had the sense to vote for the local candidate who will do the best for them not for national political parties whose track record in local politics in Norfolk is just awful. Let's hope you are joined by many more at the next election. If people wont vote for what is best for them then they only have themselves to blame when it all goes wrong. Wake up Norfolk!

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    Thursday, June 21, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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