Suffolk’s UKIP group faces tough times after Stoke by-election miss
PUBLISHED: 14:00 24 February 2017
The UKIP group on Suffolk County Council is facing testing times in the wake of the party leader’s failure to win the Stoke Central by-election.
The leader of the nine-strong group at Endeavour House, Bill Mountford, is facing an uncertain future after his local party in South Lowestoft did not re-select him to fight the seat in May’s council election.
And he was dismissive of both party leader Paul Nuttall, who finished a distant second in Stoke, and of some of the new recruits to his party: “My impression is that at the moment UKIP is a bit of an overcrowded craft occupied by political migrants.”
Mr Mountford is originally from Stoke, but was not impressed by the party campaign: “Two weeks ago Paul Nuttall had the election in the bag, but then he started behaving like a typical politician – saying things people didn’t believe and we all know what happened then, this was a very bad result.”
Although he has not been selected to fight his seat for UKIP, he is expecting to stand as an independent: “Many people in my division have come up to me and said they like what I have been doing so I’m almost certainly going to stand again.
“My group is all behind me – I remain leader of it and would like to continue to do so. I don’t know who the UKIP group will choose to fight the seat.”
On the county council UKIP has seats in Waveney, Forest Heath, Haverhill, Stowmarket and Ipswich – but they were won when the party was riding the crest of a wave in 2013.
Following the failure to win the Stoke seat, many expect UKIP support to have peaked – and both Labour and the Conservatives are hoping to pick up seats from them in Suffolk in the May 4 election.
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