77 Ukip councillors are defectors


Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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More than one in five of Ukip’s councillors are defectors from other parties, research showed as the party predicted at least a hundred more would switch to the eurosceptic outfit if it wins another MP in a by-election next month.

The Local Government Chronicle said that at least 77 of Ukip’s 357 local council representatives had previously been elected under other banners – 56 coming from the Conservatives, 13 who were independents, five Labour and three Liberal Democrat.

Almost half – 37 – have since been re-elected as Ukip candidates.

Peter Reeve, deputy leader of the Local Government Association (LGA) independent group and a Ukip member of Cambridgeshire County Council, said the numbers would swell dramatically if it won the Rochester and Strood parliamentary by-election on November 20.

The contest was forced by the defection of ex-Tory Mark Reckless, who hopes to follow the example of Douglas Carswell in Clacton by winning back his Commons seat for Ukip.

Mr Reeve said he expected a “triple figure” number of defections if the constituency was taken from the Conservatives, and that they would come from across the political spectrum.

“In the early days it was exclusively Conservatives [who defected to Ukip], but more recently we’ve had some Lib Dems and Labour members,” he told the magazine.

“The pace is going to change significantly in future. There are a lot of Labour people talking to us.”

Elections expert Colin Rallings, from the University of Plymouth, predicted that Ukip were on course to exercise ” if not control, then at least a very significant influence” in some town halls.

“That gives them, like the Lib Dems before them, an important local government base.”

Gary Porter, LGA vice-chairman and its Conservative group leader, downplayed the chances of more Tories switching sides.

“I’d be surprised if there were too many. The ones they normally get are the ones we’ve booted out already, or the ones that fail to get reselected.”

Published: Thursday 16th October 2014 by The News Editor

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