THE prominent leader of a council’s Ukip opposition group has quit his position in a shock resignation.
Councillor John Perry dropped the bombshell at a lively meeting of full Havant Borough Council meeting at the Public Service Plaza last night.
At the end of an emotive speech responding to the Conservative authority’s 2018/19 budget proposals, he announced he will step down from his post later this month.
Cllr Perry, who represents the Hayling East ward, said: ‘The prime objective of Ukip was to have the UK exit the EU – we are close to realising that prime objective and that makes me very happy indeed.
‘I will close in announcing that, effective midnight on February 28, I shall be standing down as Ukip group leader and from March 1 Cllr Malc Carpenter will assume the role of Ukip group leader on this council.’
The admission came after Cllr Perry delivered a damning rejection of Havant Borough Council’s financial forecast for the upcoming year, which he described as ‘the most depressing budget I have seen.’
And while the anti-EU representative has not yet outlined his future political plans – but will ‘over the coming weeks’ – the council’s Conservative leader says it is unlikely Cllr Perry will defect to his party.
He said: ‘If he feels the party he is currently supporting is no longer for him, then he can go and do what he wishes to do and we wish him the very best of luck.
‘But I would suspect there is no likelihood whatsoever of Cllr Perry transferring over to the Conservative party.’
Yesterday re-igniting memories of the time Cllr Perry brandished a banana and a cucumber at full council in 2016, Cllr Cheshire said his Ukip colleague’s ‘off the wall’ questions would be missed if he stepped down as a councillor altogether.
He said: ‘Of course he would be missed. We encourage debate here in the council chamber and encourage everybody to have an active role.
‘While some questions might be totally off the wall, it does engage a debate and it does allow everybody to say what they have to say.’