Ramsgate’s Councillor Beverly Martin has resigned from UKIP to cross the floor to the Conservative Party – and been slammed by party leader Chris Wells as “contributing little.”
In her resignation letter the Central Harbour ward councillor says her decision is based on the failure to reopen Manston airport, concerns over the industrialisation of Ramsgate port and the loss of the P22 gunship to Sandwich.
Cllr Martin left the party in 2015 to join the DIG alliance, with disgraced Cllr Konnor Collins and Cllr Helen Smith, over Manston airport concerns but rejoined UKIP soon after.
Now she says that working with MP Craig Mackinlay and county councillor Paul Messenger has persuaded her to cross to the Blues.
In her letter she says: “I have, since the autumn, had the benefit of working with Craig Mackinlay, MP for South Thanet and, in the last few months also with Cllr Paul Messenger of KCC, Conservative Councillor for Ramsgate. It was Craig who invited me to form a group with him to consider the future of Port Ramsgate and the beaches within the Regeneration Alliance, which I have very much appreciated.
“I realise that in working regularly with Craig, Paul and others in the community, we now have a strong representation for Ramsgate where issues of development for our town can be taken forward with commitment and imagination, both at district and county level.
“Therefore, following discussions with Bob Bayford, Leader of the Conservatives on TDC, I feel that I can better serve the residents of Thanet, particularly those I represent in Ramsgate, from within the Conservative group.”
The move means UKIP has now lost its majority on the council which will be made up of There are currently 55 Councillors in total. 27 UKIP Councillors; 21 Conservative Councillors; 5 Labour Councillors; 2 Independent Group Councillors.
UKIP leader Chris Wells said: “I heard earlier today through the press that Cllr Martin has resigned from UKIP. I later received a round robin email from the lady herself giving three reasons for her departure.
“Cllr Martin was elected as a UKIP councillor in 2015; and then departed to an independent group led by a man whose (allegedly) fake medals were later exposed.
“She then returned to UKIP, but has contributed little at district level during her “second term”, and she is quite correct in stating that she has hung around with Craig Mackinlay’s crowd.
“She now departs from us to join the Conservative Party, who were recently given the biggest fine for electoral offences in Electoral Commission history; whose MP is about to stand trial for electoral offences; and whose newly elected County Councillors have just voted themselves a 15% pay rise, something they forgot to mention before the election.
“So be it. UKIP continue to mop up the messes left in Thanet by both others past errors. We have to make the hard decisions others ran away from.
“If Cllr Martin finds hard decision too difficult, then she is doing entirely the right thing.And going to the right place.”