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Havering’s Ukip councillors will not stand for re-election if Peter Whittle becomes party leader

PUBLISHED: 10:21 25 August 2017 | UPDATED: 10:26 25 August 2017

Lawrence Webb  ( Ukip )

Lawrence Webb ( Ukip )

Archant

Havering Council’s six Ukip councillors have revealed they will not stand in next year’s local elections if Peter Whittle is named leader of their party.

Cllr Lawrence Webb, the council’s Ukip group leader, announced yesterday on Twitter that he would not run again in council elections next May if Mr Whittle was head of the party.

And on Friday morning, he again took to Twitter to reveal that none of Havering’s six incumbent Ukip councillors would stand again if the controversial figure, who is currently Ukip’s deputy leader and runaway favourite to win the leadership contest, took up the reins.

When asked if he would stand again as an independent, Cllr Webb seemed to rule out such a move, describing himself as “Ukip through and through”.

He told the Recorder: “I got involved with the party for a reason – it was standing for the right things and running in the right direction.

“But immigration is a serious issue, and unfortunately it is one that now can’t be revisited without Ukip being ridiculed for Mr Whittle’s views.”

Cllr Webb highlighted numerous examples of what he described as Mr Whittle’s “nonsensical approach” to immigration and other issues.

He said: “I cannot support some of the things he is doing. We have already seen his disastrous idea for a burqa ban and to me that does not represent the values Ukip stands for.

“The party has always been about fairness – the issue isn’t that we should ban all burqas, but that everything is made equitable.

“There are some shopping centres in the UK where hoodies are banned, and what we would say is that it is only right that a burqa or any other face covering clothing is banned there as well.”

And Cllr Webb, who is chairman of Havering Council’s overview and scrutiny committee, also took issue with Mr Whittle’s stance on ID cards.

He said: “Ukip has always historically been against the introduction of ID cards. They go against the libertarian values the party has always stood for.”

But the councillor, who has held office in Havering since March 2013, made it clear he was not standing down.

“I will see out my term as an elected Ukip councillor for the London borough of Havering,” he told the Recorder, “because by-elections are expensive and it would only be for nine months.”

The winner of the Ukip leadership election is due to be announced on September 29.

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