Conservative Mayor of Havering Cllr Eric Munday defects to Ukip
- Credit: Archant
The Mayor of Havering, and former council leader, has defected from the Conservatives to join Ukip along with other Tory members losing the party its overall majority.
Cllr Eric Munday (Squirrels Heath) jumped ship along with current councillors Cllr Lynden Thorpe (Squirrels Heath) and Cllr Peter Gardner (Hylands).
The trio claim they were deselected by the Romford Conservative Association (RCA).
The incumbent mayor said: “After 36 years continuous service to the residents of Heath Park and Squirrels Heath wards, I have been condemned as a dinosaur and de-selected by the RCA.
“I have been disappointed with the coalition government and their failure to secure our borders. They should only allow entry to those who have the skills this country needs and those in desperate need from persecution.
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“I am persuaded that Ukip is the party that will best serve Britain both nationally and locally.”
This is the latest revelation of the local Conservative party going through turmoil after a bitter row over de-selections within the party.
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Council leader Cllr Steven Kelly said: “It’s a shame they couldn’t carry on within the party but unfortunately they weren’t selected. Such a range of de-selections, that’s a real problem.
“People going across from us to Ukip will not do us any favours and might cause us to lose us seats in some areas. It’s sad people are being driven to these decisions.”
Local Ukip leader Lawrence Webb (Gooshays) was happier about the news.
He said: “I am delighted to welcome these councillors in to the Ukip fold - they bring with them a wealth of experience which will be invaluable after the May elections when we expect to win a large number of seats.”
Cllr Thorpe said it was a difficult decision to make.
She said: “I have supported and voted for the Conservative party all my life so I did not make this decision lightly.
“I have reached the conclusion that I can continue to work for my residents more effectively with the Ukip party and their common sense approach to issues.
“I will work hard and encourage people to vote for the people’s army, Ukip.”
Romford MP Andrew Rosindell reacted with disappointment to the defection.
He said: “They have benefitted from the party’s support and now it is sad they chose to do the dirty on the party, it is so selfish. Instead of leaving with integrity they leave in shame.
“It is simple, I agree with most of what they [Ukip] stand for, leaving the EU and tighter immigration – but they won’t do that by voting Ukip. It will split the vote and let labour in. People should think carefully. “