County coun­cil­lor quits UKIP for Tories

HS2 op­po­nent says he can now do more for ward

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - Byy Lor­can Lovett lor­can.lovett@trin­i­tymir­

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.”

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