Cllr Ben Walker, who represents Bradley Stoke North Ward on South Gloucester District Council, has resigned from the Conservative Party and defected to UKIP.
Cllr Walker says:
"I have been internally smeared, but will not be bullied…"
"Internal individuals have made it their business to remove me from the party in fear of their positions, so I have decided to give them what they want; for now.
While he mentions his opposition to the European Union and "ill targeted" spending cuts there has obviously been some sort of personal feud going on which is the real spur to his defection.
An article which appeared recently in the Bristol Evening Post reported that Cllr Walker's firm, Oppo Complete Building Services Ltd, went bust after a client failed to pay £60,000 they were owed. It said Cllr Walker is "currently paying off thousands of pounds of outstanding income tax for his company." The details were unclear but there didn't seem to be any suggestion that Cllr Walker personally was becoming bankrupt or had broken any law. Yet this would seem to be the background in terms of the "smears" that Cllr Walker refers to.
If someone's business goes bust does that necessarily mean they are a bad businessman? Even if it went bust in 2009 with the recession? Some of our most successful businessmen have had their ups and downs. I don't see why this business failing would in itself make Cllr Walker unsuitable to be a councillor or indeed the Council's chairman. Would you exclude divorcees for having failed in their marriages? Evidently some others in the Conservative Party took a different view. Now Cllr Walker has thrown his toys out of the pram and joined UKIP. All rather unfortunate.