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Friday, October 1, 1999 Published at 07:36 GMT 08:36 UK

UK Politics

Ex-Tory: 'Follow me to escape Europe'

The UKIP wants the stork to keep its euros out of the UK

A former Conservative general election candidate who defected to the UK Independence Party is urging other Tories to follow in his footsteps.

Dr Adrian Rogers is making the appeal at his new party's conference in Birmingham on Friday.

He will tell Conservatives that joining the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is the only way to stay free from Europe.

The controversial Exeter GP resigned from the Tories in August after hosting a final coffee morning in aid of the party.

He also wrote in a newspaper that Conservative voters planned to abstain in the European Elections to vote for the UK Independence Party.

'Gravy train'

Tory party chairman Michael Ancram said he would be expelled because the comments were "incompatible with membership".

Dr Rogers replied by saying he would resign once he had hosted a final coffee morning in aid of the Conservatives.

He said: "They offered to expel me, but I got so fed up waiting that I resigned."

He said he joined the UKIP because the Tories "refused to be definite about Europe".

"You cannot trust the Conservative party on Europe," he said. "Its membership would leave Europe tomorrow - but its MPs know a gravy train when they see one."

Election success

And he added: "We must work to dispel the climate of fear which has cowed many into believing that we cannot survive without Europe. In fact Britain will not survive within Europe."

The UKIP won three seats in the European Elections in June after campaigning for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union.

It plans to field candidates in the poll for London mayor next May and in the next general election.

Dr Rogers stood for the Tories in Exeter at the last general election, but was defeated by Labour's Ben Bradshaw.

He said he would stand for the UKIP in a general election if asked, but would not oppose a Tory candidate in Exeter.

He had previously came into conflict with his party when it forced him to close down his Conservative Family Institute because of allegations of homophobia. Dr Rogers later reopened the society under a different name.

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