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The Evening Standard reports that four Conservative councillors in Merton have resigned the whip and are considering joining UKIP. They are Cllr Richard Hilton, Cllr Suzanne Evans, Cllr Rod Scott and Cllr Linda Scott.

If we turn to the Wimbledon Guardian for further and better particulars it seems to be more about personalities than policy. The Gang of Four don't seem to like the new Conservative Group leader Cllr Oonagh Milton, or the new Mayor, the Conservative councillor Cllr Krystal Miller. They thought the position should have gone to the Deputy Mayor Cllr Chris Edge.

It all sounds like a bit of spat. So far as I can tell all those involved are good Conservatives – it's just that one group can't stand the other group. So those in the minority have stormed off. It's not really good anything to do with David Cameron, or the European Union or whether or not the Council Tax should be cut. I often think that the machinations of a local council would make a fantastic soap opera.

I suppose it will all help the Labour Party in next year's council elections – especially if the breakaway group run as rival candidates. But is there a wider relevance? UKIP may well pick up a windfall of four new councillors who would otherwise have sat as independents. UKIP offers the disaffected a home to go to. They may well encourage those elsewhere who are unhappy to feel a bit more comfortable about quitting.

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