The Conservatives are finally back with an overall majority on Tendring Council for the first time since 2015. This was the result of two more former UKIP councillors joining the Conservatives.
Cllr Jeff Bray and Cllr Richard Everett controversially quit UKIP in May after Cllr Bray, who was selected by local UKIP members to fight the General Election in Clacton for the party, had a member of the party’s national committee parachuted in over his head to fight Giles Watling.
Cllr Everett said:
“I was pleased to be able to support Giles following the demise of UKIP locally and nationally. I was proud to have an 8ft by 4ft Conservative poster board on the gable end of my house during the General Election.”
The council consists of 60 seats, of which, UKIP held 22 after the district council election two years ago, but that number has dwindled to just eight following a series of defections and by-elections. The Conservatives have increased their numbers to 32 from 23.
Cllr Everett has a high profile locally having threatened to launch a judicial review against the council over what he said was its failure to recognise a five-year-supply of housing, which he said had paved the way for speculative development. Despite this he has been welcomed by local Conservatives who have recognized his hard work on behalf of local people.
Cllr Everett said:
“I have a reputation for telling it as it is – that will not change in my new party. If I think the we have it wrong I will challenge those decisions just the same irrespective of party
“I am an unapologetic and committed supporter of Brexit, this move will allow me to work from within the only party in Britain that has a chance of implementing a complete and proper Brexit.”
“UKIP is now dead and buried, it will occasionally rise zombie like on the odd occasion it gets a new leader, but for all intents and purposes it is now pushing up daisies. The baton for leaving the EU is now firmly in the Government’s control – and that is where it should stay – in strong and capable Conservative hands working for a clean and complete Brexit. I am proud to be able to be working with the governing party to make that happen.
“I am really pleased to be able to join with a group that is running the council in an open and inclusive manner and I want to be part of that.” Both councillors have stated that since joining the Conservatives they have found lots of like minded people in the Council Group and the local party.”