UKIP’s hold on power at Thanet council suffers another blow as two more members vow to quit the party

Councillors Suzanne Brimm and Alan Howes say they are going to become Independents

UKIP’s fragile hold on power at Thanet council has suffered another blow with two more members announcing that they intend to quit the party.

The group is the authority’s largest party but lost its majority when Cllr Beverly Martin defected to the Tories last month. Its sway was further reduced when the Margate by-election this month returned Labour’s Ian Venables to the seat.

Now Birchington ward councillors Suzanne Brimm and Alan Howes have announced they are quitting the party and will serve as Independents.

The move, which they will officially inform Thanet council officers of tomorrow (August 14), will cut the number of UKIP seats from 27 to 25 – just four more than the Conservative Party.

‘I will walk my own path’

Cllr Brimm makes her decision to quit following a move to ditch her as Cabinet member for Operational Services, reported exclusively by The Isle of Thanet News yesterday (August 12).

She said: “I am leaving and going independent until UKIP pull their socks up. I will walk my own path.”

The former electrician and mum-of-two had refused to resign her role after council leader Chris Wells made a decision to restructure the Cabinet and portfolios – the services members are responsible for.

In a statement she said: “I have no intention of resigning or giving in to bullying due to internal politics.”

Cllr Wells said yesterday: “I can confirm that in the course of restructuring the Cabinet portfolios I have had to inform Cllr Suzanne Brimm that while she remains a valued and enthusiastic councillor she will no longer be a Cabinet member.”

Cllr Alan Howes said he will inform Cllr Wells and council officers in Democratic Services of his decision tomorrow.

‘Unhappy’

He said: “I have made this decision after thinking about it for many weeks. I resigned as vice chairman in May and for many months I have been unhappy about the way Thanet council and UKIP is being run.

“Cllr Wells is indecisive. So, I will be an Independent UKIP alongside Cllr Brimm and we will vote based on each issue.”

A loss of control

UKIP took control of their only council in the country in 2015, winning 33 of the 56 seats. But the party has since suffered defections and resignations.

In 2015 Beverley Martin, Ash Ashbee and now-disgraced former councillors Konnor Collins and Helen Smith, who were later arrested on theft charges, set up the Democratic Independent Group in protest at a lack of action on Manston airport. They were then joined by Cllr Jeff Elenor, who has now resigned his seat because he has moved out of the area.

The move created UKIP’s first loss of majority at the authority but they regained control when the party took back the Northwood seats in a by-election following the resignation of Mr Collins and Ms Smith in 2016.

Cllr Ken Gregory, Cllr Peter Evans and Cllr Emma Dawson

Cllr Martin soon rejoined UKIP but has now defected again. Cllr Ashbee has since joined the Conservatives. Cllr Emma Dawson and Lesley Game crossed to the Conservatives in 2015 and Cllr Peter Evans followed them earlier this year.

Cllr Martin’ announced her defection last month, saying she felt she could better represent Ramsgate and fight for the town by working with the Conservatives.

Once the resignations of Cllr Howes and Brimm have been formalised the make-up of Thanet council’s 56 seats will be UKIP 25, Conservative 21, Labour 6, Independent Group 2 and the new Independent UKIP 2, meaning the combined opposition to UKIP is 31 seats.

Crossing the floor

A poll created by The Isle of Thanet News in May asked if by-elections should be held when members left the parties they were elected under.

79.3% of those who responded said yes, 17.2% said no and 3.4% were not sure.

11 Comments

  1. Another bad egg leaves after another. Outrageous Cllr Howes who labels his residents on his fabebook page with words you wouldn’t want to print. This man has completely lost the plot everyone knows that. Now we have two loose cuckoo clowns together. One will spit hail and fire at everyone that goes against her and the other will insult just about everyone in Thanet. I’m not a ukip supporter but I bet they will be glad to have got rid of those two rotten eggs.

  2. Well well well, more rats jumping the sinking ship. She gets mugged off by her own leader and then runs off with that mysoginist fool. A fine double act. What ever happened to loyalty. Fairly non existent where UKIP are concerned. Only a couple more and it’s goodnight UKIP. Who’s next? Will they make it till next weekend? Stay tuned

  3. Why dont the cllrs who are resigning from their parties have the decency to stand for re election insted of just joining a party they were not elected to stand for .

  4. I really cannot understand how – when people are elected as representing a particular party whatever it is – decide to change parties, they still expect to retain their seat. I have no time for UKIP anyway a party that is obviously doomed now, but I do question this.

    • Especially when the real reason for defection is fear of not being elected next time around due to the unpopularity of their party, namely Ukip. We will see many more defections from the sinking Ukip ship prior to the next TDC election in 2019.

  5. Ukip in meltdown, their voters are now endangered species,their now almost as many ex ukip councillors as actual ukip councillors

    • Maybe they will continue to fly around in ever-decreasing circles, and eventually disappear, up where they belong, just like the mythological Ouslem bird! Bye bye UKIP – don’t bother coming back!

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