County councillor quits UKIP for Tories
HS2 opponent says he can now do more for ward
A COUNTY councillor and vocal campaigner against HS2 has defected from UKIP to the Conservatives.
Paul Irwin, who represents Waddesdon and Stone on Bucks County Council, announced his decision on Tuesday, January 27, after resigning over the weekend.
Mr Irwin said: “I joined UKIP because I was very angry about HS2. Now that it’s coming, whatever we say, it’s all about mitigation. The building will be the worst bit – more than the railway itself.
“I can do more for my ward with HS2 now. It gives me a bit more clout in the county hall.
“For the last year I have been unhappy with UKIP. Their policies are not sitting comfortably with me. I’m middle of the centre but I’m not right wing.
“It is very easy for UKIP to pick a policy that they know is going to be popular in an area, and that is what they have done with HS2.
“I do believe in controlled immigration but some immigration is good, we have some fantastic doctors because of it. In Buckinghamshire, we can’t recruit social workers at the moment. We have to look abroad.
“Since I got elected, the Conservatives have been extremely good to me. On the personal side of things I was quite comfortable.”
UKIP county council leader Andy Huxley said: “UKIP as a common voice is totally against HS2 and I thought that was Paul Irwin’s stance.
“I’m naturally disappointed but not totally surprised. He has been an excellent councillor and does a very good job locally.
“We are happy [in the UKIP county council group] and have some excellent candidates for the May elections.”
Conservative county council leader Martin Tett welcomed Mr Irwin’s decision, adding: “Paul has recognised that UKIP offers no practical ideas to improve the lives of residents whilst the Conservatives have clear policies.”