Opposition councillors in Rotherham desert Ukip in favour of new Brexit party

Rotherham’s group of 12 Ukip councillors have left the party en masse and joined the Brexit Party, it has been confirmed.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 7:18 am
Updated Thursday, 18th July 2019, 2:43 pm
Political upheaval: Ukip councillors switch to Brexit

Group leader Coun Allen Cowles confirmed the switch, which has been formally recorded on council papers ahead of next week’s meetings schedule, but declined to give more details at this stage.

Those involved are expected to provide more details in a press release expected early next week, but the mass departure follows former Ukip Coun Peter Short’s decision to leave the group last month, to continue on the council as an Independent.

Coun Cowles said: “We are going to make a statement early next week and hope by Tuesday the press release will have been cleared. We will do our best to answer questions.”

The Ukip group had been the largest opposition party on the Labour controlled authority and the change has already attracted social media commentary, with council leader Coun Chris Read saying on Twitter he was looking forwards to learning more about the “principled decision” of the councillors involved.

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Rotherham’s sole Lib Dem councillor, Dr Adam Carter, was critical of the move and said: “This is a case of same song, different chorus. They achieved nothing as UKIP councillors, often voting the same way as Labour. And they'll achieve nothing as the Brexit Party. It's time for a real opposition, and only the Liberal Democrats can provide it.”