Former 'Turnip Taliban' dissenter now backing Truss to be PM

Roy Brame, town and district councillor at the Thomas Paine statue in Thetford.

Roy Brame, town and district councillor at the Thomas Paine statue in Thetford - Credit: Denise Bradley

A self-described former member of the 'Turnip Taliban', who voted against Liz Truss becoming the Conservative candidate for the safe seat of South West Norfolk in 2009, said she has been an 'excellent' MP and would do the job of prime minister well.

Local councillor Roy Brame was among the members of Ms Truss’s local Tory association who voted against her after she made it on to David Cameron’s A-list of priority candidates and was parachuted into the constituency.

The 67-year-old said he voted against her at the time because “she was not local” but conceded that she has been an “excellent MP for the area”.

Liz Truss speaking at an event at Breckland Council in Dereham, Norfolk, as part of her campaign to

Liz Truss speaking at an event at Breckland Council in Dereham, Norfolk, as part of her campaign to be leader of the Conservative Party and the next prime minister - Credit: PA

He said he has “not 100%” decided if he will vote for Ms Truss or Rishi Sunak in the Conservative Party leadership election, but he praised Ms Truss.

Ms Truss’s candidacy narrowly survived the attempt by traditionalist members of the local association – nicknamed the “Turnip Taliban” over their conservative views and the local agricultural produce – to deselect her in 2009 after it emerged she had had an affair with married Conservative MP Mark Field.

She entered Parliament the following year after winning in the 2010 general election by a comfortable majority of more than 13,000 votes.

Mr Brame, who ran an electrical shop before his retirement, said: “I think she’s done a very good job.

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“I voted against her being our MP because she was not local.

“I don’t believe the party should put people in who are not local and that was my big issue with the whole thing.

“We had very good local candidates that could have been done instead of her being parachuted in.

“But I have to say she’s been an excellent MP for the area.

“She moved into the area, she lives with us.”

He said Ms Truss has run a “very good campaign”, and that too much emphasis has been placed on the personalities of the leadership contenders.

“Yes, I was a member of the Turnip Taliban for my reasons,” he said. “I do not base this on who they are.

“If (Boris) Johnson hadn’t have been the prime minister, if we’d have been voting for a leader following (Theresa) May or (William) Hague or anyone you can mention, nobody would have been saying ‘Oh, but they’re not flamboyant’, ‘What’s their personality?’.

“We wouldn’t have cared.

“We would have wanted somebody who can do the job.”

Mr Brame, Thetford Castle ward councillor for Breckland District Council, continued: “Liz Truss has been a minister all her political career.

“She’s been exceptionally there for us as constituents, which is very difficult to do when you’re a minister.

“And she will do the job well, simple as that.”