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Hainault Cllr Edward Griffin defects to Ukip because dissatisfied with Conservative leadership

PUBLISHED: 16:58 10 February 2014 | UPDATED: 12:01 12 February 2014

Cllr Edward Griffin

Cllr Edward Griffin

Archant

A Hainault ward councillor has resigned from the Conservatives to become the only Ukip representative in Redbridge.

Cllr Edward Griffin said he left his former party because of dissatisfaction with leadership.

He added: “I have been unhappy with the direction and leadership of the Conservative group for some time.

“My decision to join Ukip was not born out of any selection issues.”

He added: “I think they are more in tune with the way people think these days.”

Cllr Griffin will continue to represent Hainault until the local elections in May.

He has been in the post since 2002 and previously left the Tories in 2005 to become an independent for a brief spell, before joining the party again in 2006.

It is the latest blow to the Redbridge Council Conservatives amid rumours of a plot to topple Cllr Keith Prince, leader of the council.

In December, Cllr Alex Wilson claimed he was forced to resign from his post as cabinet member for planning and public protection.

It was part of an unexpected cabinet reshuffle of three posts.

Six other Conservative councillors including deputy mayor Cllr Tania Solomon will not be standing at the next election.

Some polls put Ukip as the third most-popular political party in the country following the Liberal Democrats’ decline.

The eurosceptic party, headed by Nigel Farage, has never had an MP elected but is represented in local government and at the EU Parliament.

Michael McGough, chairman of the Redbridge and Waltham Forest branch, said things are “looking good” for his party.

“It’s a bit of a protest vote but people come to us for a lot of reasons, it’s not just about the EU anymore,” he said.

“When Cllr Griffin comes across, maybe other councillors will consider their options.”

Mr McGough said Ukip is lining up candidates for most Redbridge wards for the local elections.

Some are former councillors and even former Conservative cabinet members, he claimed.

Cllr Prince has not responded to the Recorder’s request for a comment.

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