THE only member of a Council who represents the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) has left to join the Conservatives.
Councillor Patrick Bergin, who represents the Rowner and Holbrook ward on Gosport Borough Council, has denounced his affiliation from UKIP and said the party is in ‘disarray.’
His announcement comes just one day after Diane James stood down as party leader although Mr Bergin says his decision was made before Ms James announced her news.
Mr Bergin will continue to represent his ward as a Tory councillor.
He said: ‘With immediate effect I have resigned from UKIP, and will be joining the Conservative Party.
‘After discussions with the Leader of the Council, I shall continue to represent Rowner and Holbrook ward now as a Conservative Councillor.
‘I have reflected long and hard during the successful Brexit campaign which was my main reason to be involved in politics. Now the referendum is behind us, it is the business of Government to manage the exit.
‘I formally announced my decision to UKIP Gosport Association last evening, I have the utmost personal regard for the team and I felt it only proper that they get the news directly from me, and be able to ask any questions.
‘This was before anyone was aware of the decision of Diane James MEP, to step down as UKIP leader. Given the circumstances she has sited, I fully understand her actions. It gives me no pleasure but like the Labour party, UKIP are once again in disarray with yet another leadership election looming and with no clear direction.
‘I am sure part of her support issue is based on people, who perhaps should not be there, if you are not right in any group, you should leave. Over time, I realised that I am one such person, and this has been a big part of my decision making.
‘I know that to help the people in my ward and be part of decision making and take Gosport forward, I can only do so by being an active member of a group who have the vision to take Gosport forward. That group is the Conservatives
‘I have been delighted by many of the statements both before and during this week’s Conservative party conference and I feel confident that we are in safe hands.
‘Above all of this however I am proud to have the opportunity to help people in Rowner and Holbrook, no matter who they voted for in the elections, no matter the problem and I look forward to working hard with my new Conservative colleague Marcus Murphy and the group.’