UPDATED: UKIP defector: ‘I’m not right wing enough for party’

Councillor Paul Irwin
Councillor Paul Irwin

A county councillor has defected from UKIP to the Conservatives.

Paul Irwin, who represents Waddesdon and Stone on Bucks County Council, announced his decision today after resigning over the weekend.

He said: “I was never quite comfortable with UKIP.

“I am middle of centre but I am not right wing. UKIP isn’t a racist party but there are 
racist people in it and their policies just don’t stack up.”

He added: “I am trying to leave respectfully. I have always been supported by the Conservatives since I became a councillor, never by UKIP as they don’t have group meetings. They are very amateurish.

“There are an awful lots of egos and I feel like the party has grown too fast for it to cope with.

“I haven’t left for a job, I don’t want to be a cabinet member, I just love doing things in my ward and I have had so much support from people in Waddesdon.”

Mr Irwin says he joined UKIP because of his uncle, David Fowler, who is set to contest Commons Speaker John Bercow’s seat in Buckingham at the general election.

He said he remained a UKIP member for as long as he did out of loyalty to Mr Fowler, who was unavailable for comment on the news.

This week Mr Irwin met with Lawrence Renshell, chairman of the Buckingham Conservative Association.

Mr Renshell said: “After speaking with Paul over the weekend and again this morning, I could see he was genuinely concerned where UKIP’s policies were headed.

“He has taken some time to come to his decision to resign and I was very happy to invite him to become a member of the Conservative Party.

“He is a hard working councillor who puts the people he represents first.

“I have had discussions with Martin Tett, leader of the county council Conservative group, who is pleased to welcome him on board.”

News of Mr Irwin’s resignation comes just days after UKIP MEP Amjad Bashir defected to the Conservatives citing a ‘ridiculous lack of policies’.

Mr Irwin, who lives in Grendon Underwood, has been vocal in campaigning against HS2 during his time with UKIP.

He was also the victim of Twitter trolls who were investigated by police.

Councillor Phil Yerby, who defected from the Conservatives to UKIP last year, expressed shock at the news.

He said: “It’s a shame, Paul is a good guy but we all have to make our own decisions in life.

“I don’t know his reasons for leaving UKIP, we have a lot of support and momentum in this area so I don’t understand why he would think of leaving.”