A long-serving Conservative councillor and staunch eurosceptic who has twice managed Andrea Leadsom’s parliamentary campaign will not be running in the next county council elections - after his shock de-selection.
A panel of five Tories on the Northampton South Conservative group have ruled Councillor Phil Larratt out of running for his East Hunsbury ward at the 2017 county council elections, though the reasons remain unclear.
Councillor Larratt has served on the authority since 2009, but his links with the Conservative party stretch back to the early 1980s.
He worked closely with Tony Marlow, former MP for Northampton North, as his campaign manager between 1981 and 1993.
He played a similar role in Andrea Leadsom’s successful campaigns in 2010 and 2015.
Councillor Larratt has been on the borough council since 1983 and was leader of the authority in the early 2000s.
But South Northants Councillor Sandra Barnes MBE, who sat on the selection panel, could not elaborate on why Councillor Larratt had been removed from his safe seat.
She said: “That’s how it is - other people were not selected as well.
“We all have to be selected every term.
“I was leader of South Northants Council for 11 years and I still had to be selected.”
She added: “Politics is a bruising game.”
Councillor Larratt was even chairman of Northampton South Conservatives last year and is currently an officer of South Northamptonshire Conservatives.
He is the current borough council deputy leader following he recent re-shuffle.
But he did not wish to comment on the de-selection, except to say that he would appeal the decision.
The councillor was a vocal Vote Leave campaigner in the recent EU Referendum and was one of many who attended Northampton Market Square to see UKIP leader Nigel Farage give a speech in June. That speech had to be aborted when Farage was confronted by Remain campaigners.
Last year Councillor Larratt also accused colleagues in Daventry and South Northamptonshire of “doing a deal” so new homes could be dumped on the edges of the county town.
He walked out of a joint council planning meeting which was to decide where 26,000 houses would be built around Northamptonshire.
Councillor Michael Brown (UKIP, Kingsthorpe) believes the de-selection came about because of Councillor Larratt’s anti-EU leanings.
He said: “Since he was last year’s county council chairman and current deputy leader of Northampton Borough Council, this is a big surprise to us.
“This is another indication that the Tory establishment not listening to the people just doing what they want. We also wonder if it has anything to do with his outspoken support for the winning “leave campaign” in the referendum?”