New Brexit group plan to increase their hold on Rotherham Council in next elections
The new Brexit group on Rotherham Council have announced they plan to capitalise on the swift national growth of the fledging party to gain more seats in the next local elections.
Twelve councillors announced last week they were defecting from Ukip to join the party led nationally by Nigel Farage and believe its early popularity in the EU elections will be reflected when councils go to the ballot box next year.
Group leader Coun Allen Cowles said it was too early to predict how many seats they would challenge – the situation in Rotherham is complicated by boundary changes which mean some wards will change and some will be represented by only two councillors in future.
He said: “It will remain to be seen. I would hope we will be looking to field a lot more candidates.
“We will start campaigning on Saturday and will be inviting people to come and join us.”
The decision for the whole group to switch parties in one move had been carefully considered and was the result of growing dissatisfaction with the internal wranglings of Ukip, he said, which had resulted in changes to the leadership and a failure to listen to the concerns they had raised.
“The move all at once is that we as a group had gone through careful consideration as to what we should do for the future, what gives us the best opportunity to be re-elected.
“We looked at the results of the European elections,” he said.
Almost half a million people in Yorkshire and Humberside voted Brexit and the party had “a resounding victory”, he said.
“It is pretty obvious people are supporting the party. We are all Euro-sceptics and it seemed the perfectly logical move.
“I think Ukip has problems. We had a big success years ago and rather than building on that they have spent two years navel gazing and arguing amongst themselves.
“We have given our views and tried to put forwards positive ideas,” he said.
Those who have joined Brexut are Coun Allen Cowles and Julie Turner representing Sitwell; Coun Brian Cutts and John Turner of Hellaby; Coun Dave Cutts and Paul Hague of Keppel; Coun Michael Elliott of Holderness; Councillor Robert Elliott of Wingfield; Coun Sandra Marriott of Rawmarsh; Councillor Alan Napper of Silverwood; Councillor
Coun Kathleen Reeder of Valley, and Coun Nigel Simpson who represents Brinsworth and Catcliffe.