Rasen Mail cited as UKIP candidate defects to the Tories

Joshua Jones EMN-150219-155647001
Joshua Jones EMN-150219-155647001

Gainsborough Conservatives have revealed their first defector- Joshua Jones from UKIP.

The 17-year-old was the UKIP candidate for Saxilby in the upcoming elections for West Lindsey District Council, until announcing his defection on Tuesday.

Previously, Giles McNeill, the Tory Party agent running the campaigns both for sitting MP Sir Edward Leigh and for the local elections, had spoken of defectors coming from the Liberal Democrats, something he still expects.

Joshua Jones is a UKIP high-flyer, with the A-level student the East Midlands chairman of its UKIP’s Young Independence youth wing.

Earlier this month, he spoke at a UKIP event in Grantham saying UKIP’s economic and European policies would attract the support of younger voters.

Just this week, he told the Rasen Mail: “I joined UKIP in 2012, when I was 15, primarily because I agreed with the policies on education and taxation: to reintroduce selective education and to increase the personal allowance so that minimum wage earners don’t pay income tax.

“The reason I’m standing is because council tax is too high, and I want the council to make savings so that tax can be reduced.”

However, on Tuesday, the Lincoln sixth-former, who turns 18 on Saturday, announced his defection on Twitter.

“I have decided to leave UKIP and join the Conservatives, a party with economic policies based on sound free-market principles, not populism,” he said.

In a media statement Joshua added: “It was clear from last week’s article in the Market Rasen Mail that the policies of UKIP locally - under the headline ‘Blue-KIP’ - are very similar to the programme of the ruling Conservatives at West Lindsey District Council. They have also kept their promises they made to local residents at the last elections, so I want to support them.”

Conservative agent Giles McNeill said local Tories were really pleased to welcome their new supporter into the association.

“Despite the portrayal of politics as ‘Punch and Judy’ it was nice to see a number of comments on Twitter from kippers wishing Joshua well,” said Coun McNeill.

“We each come to politics with different values, and different perspectives on what’s important. That is why the Conservative Party has a broad base of supporters, like former Liberal Democrats such as councillor Jackie Brockway at Saxilby, to people like Joshua who come from UKIP.”

However, Giles McNeill, who is also a West Lindsey District Councillor, declined to say whether Joshua would be standing for the Tories in the upcoming council elections. The list of Conservative Party candidates would not be revealed until April, he said.

Howard Thompson, chairman of Gainsborough UKIP, said he was ‘sorry’ to lose Joshua.

“I think he’s got a bright future. We respect his decision and we wish him well for his university career and we would welcome him back. Good luck to the lad.”

Mr Thompson added UKIP has been attracting defectors in other parts of the country.

“It’s all part of the political game,” he told the Rasen Mail.