Last month I reported that Cllr Alan Preest, of Gloucestershire County Council, had defected from UKIP to the Conservatives.
Now comes news that Cllr Andy Erskine has joined the Conservatives. Cllr Erskine represents the Tendring Rural East Ward. He had been the Deputy Leader of the UKIP group. He was an independent for a few weeks before joining the Conservatives.
According to the Clacton Gazette:
“Terry Sutton, chairman of the Harwich, North Essex and Colchester Association, said he expected more defectors from UKIP to the Tories, saying some people only joined UKIP to force a vote on the European Union.”
This is an intriguing prospect. There are still half a dozen UKIP county councillors in Essex.
Sutton Coldfield Conservatives are also celebrating after securing a new recruit. Sutton Vesey Town Councillor Louise Passey has left the independents group to join the Conservatives.
Cllr Passey said:
“The Conservative Party offers the best choice for Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council and in joining them I will be in a fantastic position to continue all the hard work I have already put into Vesey ward for the benefit of our residents and all of Sutton.
“This decision has taken great thought and is the right thing to do for local residents who want to see real positive action across our Town.
“Independents for Sutton is going through a period of great uncertainty and challenge. There is a clear lack of focus, structure, cohesiveness, strategy, leadership and lack of genuine independence. Increasingly it is a vehicle for certain people’s personal agendas and not a positive driver for change.”
I understand that the “Independents Group” is linked to UKIP.
UKIP still has over 500 councillors (not including town councillors). Many of them must wonder what they are achieving. They must also be wondering after the referendum what their party is for and feel some sense of dismay over the messy leadership election.
I would hope and expect that more of them will be switching to the Conservatives in the coming weeks and months,