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Quietly UKIP are losing councillors who are resigning, being suspended or defecting.

Cllr Dave Whittingham of Fareham Borough Council has returned to the fold as a Conservative – after a spell as an independent and then a UKIP councillor. Welcome back.

Brian Hawes, who was a UKIP town councillor in Haverhill in Suffolk has resigned after saying: "We don't give leaflets to black people."

Lincolnshire county councillor Cllr Chris Pain, who was the UKIP group leader has been suspended from the party. He has some dispute with the UKIP national chairman Steve Crowther the details of which have not been disclosed.

They have had some seats they gained in May already lost in byelections. Eric Kitson resigned as UKIP councillor in Worcestershire after making anti semitic posts on his Facebook page. UKIP lost the byelection to an Independent and Health Concern candidate. In Norfolk Labour gained a byelection from UKIP in Norfolk when a UKIP councillor resigned after admitting to shop lifting.

To be fair these difficulties should be seen in context. UKIP gained 139 seats in May – the large majority remain in place. They make net gains in defections and byelections. Where one of their councillors makes a blatantly racist comment they generally get the message that they are expected to stand down.

Yet it is reasonable to reflect that a Party appealing to malcontents will reap what it sows.

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