17 UKIP Councillors QUIT whip, form new group

Mass defection seen as a snub of UKIP Leader, Henry Bolton

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17 UKIP Councillors in Thurrock leave the party, in a move that will be seen to be a snub of embattled leader, Henry Bolton.

UKIP were the official opposition on Thurrock council, but now have been wiped out following the mass defection.

One of the councillors is Tim Aker MEP, who vows to “stay as a UKIP MEP.”

“But to better represent my constituents in Aveley, I had no choice but to follow my colleagues and represent the Thurrock Independents”.

In a video, Cllr Graham Snell, said “We are a brand new party, in Thurrock, for Thurrock.”

Cllr Jack Duffin said in a statement “Today I’ve left UKIP and helped set up a new local residents party”.

“I’ve had a brilliant 5 & 1/2 years in [UKIP] and made some awesome friends but now I’m happy to put national party politics to one side”

Cllr Duffin said “Our councillors have won widespread admiration for their hard work even from residents across the political spectrum. We hope that these admirers will now be able to support Thurrock Independents.”

Thurrock Independents new logo
The new logo of the party – source: Cllr Jack Duffin

In a press release, the newly formed “Thurrock Independents” announced that “17 Councillors have resigned the UKIP Local Government Whip and joined the party.

“This makes Thurrock Independents the official opposition on Thurrock Council.”

Graham Snell, the Group Leader said that the party’s councillors will be “the only councillors in Thurrock whose prime concern will be Thurrock Residents.

“They are not compromised by a slavish attachment to a national party. The party will only be standing in Local Elections”.

In the statement, the party said it “opens its doors to all Thurrock residents.”, and encourages potential joiners to contact chairman@thurrockindy.org, as it prepares for May elections.