A Conservative councillor has become the first to follow MP Douglas Carswell in joining UKIP. Councillor Chris Neal, who serves on Sevenoaks District Council, joined the anti-EU party today, saying that the Conservatives “no longer have the interests of ordinary people at heart.”
Councillor Neal said: “I had thought of staying quiet until next May but after witnessing Douglas Carswell (in my opinion a man of great integrity, one of the most erudite, loyal, intelligent, clear thinking and effective Conservative back benchers) resign and join UKIP today I believe I should make my views known.”
Neal also cited local issues, accusing his local Conservative Party of hitting small businesses by raising taxes and “interfering in people’s private life” by building on the Green Belt.
Unlike Carswell, however, Neal will not resign; instead, he will stand down at the next election.
He said: “I am happy to continue serving the citizens of Cowden, Four Elms, Hever and Mark Beech until next election at which point I will step down.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage welcomed Councillor Neal’s defection: “I am delighted to welcome Chris to the party. I am sure he will, with Cllr Stephen Lindsay work hard to represent his constituents and UKIP in Sevenoaks,” he said.