The Labour Mayor of Bishop Auckland has defected to UKIP.
Councillor Colin Race, who says he has voted Labour “ever since he was old enough”, made the shock announcement at a Bishop Auckland Town Council meeting, in County Durham, on Tuesday.
Coun Race said he will be joining Nigel Farage’s party before pouring scorn on his former Labour colleagues for being part of a “cosy consensus” of politicians.
Coun Race said: “Year-on-year it has become increasingly clear that Labour are neglecting voters and taking us all for granted.
“The Labour Party that I once knew – the party that stuck up for the working families, is no more. We have a cosy consensus of politicians in Westminster who spend more time patting each other on the back, than representing the people who pay their wages at the end of the month.
“Here in the North East we have the highest rates of unemployment in the country, how are my kids meant to get a job when our political class support open door mass immigration from 27 other EU member states?”
> But its not immigrants who are cutting full time jobs and replacing them with short hours or zero hours jobs. That’s the real problem, not immigration. Still, sounds like UKIP’s his natural home.
Coun Race’s defection comes four months before Labour MP Helen Goodman fights to keep the Bishop Auckland constituency red.
UKIP’s North East MEP, Jonathan Arnott, said:
“I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Coun Colin Race, to UKIP’s peoples’ army.
“Labour party members across our region are simply realising that the incredibly wealthy individuals who sit at the top of the Labour party don’t, and make no attempt to, work for hard-working, law-abiding citizens across the country.
“Only UKIP are offering a sensible, credible alternative to the Labour party who have neglected the North East for years.”
> Don’t forget the Green Party, who have the added bonus of not being racist.
It is understood Coun Race attempted to stand for Labour on Durham County Council but was rejected as a candidate.
Labour hit back at the councillor’s criticism and branded UKIP “more Tory than the Tories”.
A party spokesman said:
“On the day Nigel Farage confirmed his plans to privatise the NHS, people in Bishop Auckland will rightly be questioning the decision of one of their town councillors.
“UKIP’s policies include another tax break for millionaires, higher taxes on working families, scrapping rights as at work and higher bankers’ bonuses.
“They can’t be described as a party who will stand up for working people. In reality they are more Tory than the Tories.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 20 Jan 2015