UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage welcomed Horsham Tory defector Roger Arthur today (Wednesday April 3) and thanked him for placing his confidence in his party.
Last week, Mr Arthur, deputy leader at Horsham District Council and its cabinet member for finance, announced he was quitting to join UKIP.
He said the Conservative’s national leadership was no longer in touch with the grass roots.
His decision caused national media interest as the district council lies in the heartland of Francis’ Maude’s constituency.
Today, Mr Farage said: “That somebody with the public service track record, and a history of hard work for his local community as Cllr Arthur has decided to join us in UKIP tells its own story. Across the country decent, ordinary men and women are waking up to the sad fact that the tired old political establishment no longer cares for them, or their concerns.
“In too many areas, local government has become a comfortable one party state. Councillors care more about the party whip than acting either under their own consciences, or in the direct interests of their constituents. In UKIP we believe that at local authority level, there should be no whips, no hidebound adherence to the interests of party management. If that makes life more difficult, so be it, it also makes it more honest.
“I am looking forward to meeting Roger as soon as possible, but looking at his record I can see the measure of the man. So welcome aboard Roger, and thank you for placing your confidence in us.”
One of the first people to be told by Roger Arthur of his defection to UKIP was the editor of the County Times last Wednesday.
We broke the news last week on our website www.wscountytimes.co.uk and provided wide-ranging updates and comment throughout the Easter Weekend.
Tens of thousands of our browsers tuned in to our coverage - and our exclusive reports attracted 3,000 Facebook ‘likes’.
For all your local breaking news, seven days a week, remember to make the County Times’ website your home page.
Full reports on the defection appear in this week’s West Sussex Gazette and West Sussex County Times - which also includes an exclusive feature looking at the reasons for Mr Arthur’s defection, in his own words.