|Chiswick Councillor Defends Party After UKIP Defections
Four councillors leave Tory party amid reports of internal disputes
Chiswick councillor Peter Thompson has said he is saddened at the defection of four Hounslow borough councillors from the Conservative Party to UKIP within days of each other. He described it as a " frustrating development" but said the party would come through it.
The defections are a blow to the Conservative party's bid to challenged the council's domination by the Labour Party in the next elections.
Cllr Thompson, who is the leader of the Conservative grouping in Hounslow said it was true that Councillor Gillian Hutchinson (Feltham North), Rebecca Stewart, and Beverley Williams (Hanworth Park), were facing disciplinary proceedings for breaking group rules.
Cllr Colin Botteril (Feltham West) has also left to join UKIP. There were reports that there were difficulties between the councillors and the Feltham & Heston Conservative Association.
Cllr Peter Thompson, said: "It is indeed true that councillors Hutchinson, Stewart and Williams were facing disciplinary proceedings for breaking group rules. But I am still saddened that they have decided to leave the party for which they were elected only two years ago.
“All those who voted for these councillors in 2010 voted for a conservative councillor and in cases such as these it always strikes me that politicians who leave the party for which they were elected should step down. All this is obviously a frustrating development but we will come through it."
He added that he was extremely disappointed and surprised that Cllr Botterill had resigned and said that he had originally stated that he would stand as an independent councillor but had been "converted to the charms of UKIP" over the weekend. Cllr Thompson said that Cllr Botterill had originally told him he was resigning over the behaviour of Cllrs Hutchinson, Stewart and Williams at a recent Bedfont, Feltham and Hanworth Area Forum and yet now he had joined them in forming a new UKIP group on the Council.
It was reported that the resignations were due to an internal dispute over the party mandatory reselection process. Cllr Paul Jabbal, chairman of the Feltham and Heston Conservative Association said there was a formal complaints procedure if people had a problem with any aspect of how the Association was working and nobody had made any complaints.
One of the defectors, Rebecca Stewart said they were not happy with the way the Feltham and Heston association was being run. There was also a lack of support from some of the officers from the Conservative Group.
"We want to reassure residents we are still their local councillors and our work in the community will still continue."