The newly elected county councillor for the Storrington division has called UKIP members ‘buffoons’ following his by-election win last week.
Philip Circus beat off a strong challenge from the UKIP candidate John Wallace by 1,037 to 729 votes, but the chairman said that ‘UKIP’s bubble has burst’.
He said: “There’s been a widening of the gap between voters for Conservative and UKIP since the May conference, and UKIP looked like buffoons in that conference.
“I think this win shows that the UKIP bubble has burst, and now they’re further away from winning.”
Mr Circus’ claims were vigorously refuted by the UKIP candidate Mr Wallace who told the County Times this week he thinks the Conservative member is ‘living in cloud-cuckoo-land’.
He also questioned how Mr Circus will ‘function effectively’ being both the district and county councillor, as well as currently serving as the chairman of HDC.
“I think Philip was very lucky to get in this time, but he’s still living in cloud-cuckoo-land,” said Mr Wallace.
“Now he’s the chairman of the district council and a county councillor - I want to know how he will run all these functions effectively?”
Mr Circus told the County Times he is ‘really looking forward to being the latest member of the county council’ but also added how he was disappointed with the low turn out, which saw just a fifth of people bothering to vote.
“I find it depressing. There are people all over the world who would give anything to have a free vote with their local government.”
The UKIP candidate claimed the Conservative party threw in everything ‘including the kitchen sink’ to win the by-election.
“We should have responded accordingly,” admitted Mr Wallace. whose wife Liz Wallace is Chairman of Arundel and South Downs UKIP branch.
“But bear in mind we’re a much smaller party and we’re still the only political party that has a growing membership.
“We’re bruised but certainly not beaten by any means,”
The by-election was called following the death of Frank Wilkinson who died after a short battle with cancer.
“I’m saddened that the death of Frank made this election necessary,” added Mr Circus.