A REBEL councillor axed from the Tory party has jumped ship to join the purple party’s ranks.
Nathan Birnie, who covers the Weaver ward on East Staffordshire Borough Council, resigned from the Conservative party, along with fellow councillors Robert Hardwick, Peter Ball and Malcolm Barrett, stating it was due to ‘ongoing concerns’.
He was officially terminated from the party after being accused of being ‘hostile’ for voting Martin Blencowe as planning chairman instead of Tory candidate Greg Hall, along with Councillor Ball.
However, he has not let this stop him and has now joined the UKIP.
Councillor Birnie said: “I believe UKIP stands up for local people. I like Nigel Farage, the party’s leader.
“He is a normal person who is not frightened to say what he thinks.
“As a UKIP councillor I am just going to stand up for my local area and get things done.”
The 27-year-old joins Stretton parish councillor Brian Buxton in move which has come as another boost for the party after four former Tory councillors in Cannock also defected.
Commenting on the news, UKIP West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass said: “UKIP is really on a roll not just in the West Midlands but across the country as a whole.
“We are attracting members from the Labour party, from the Tories and from the Liberal Democrats. UKIP is the only party that listens to local people.
“I am sure both Councillors Birnie and Buxton will be great assets to UKIP and they will continue to put the people of Burton first.”
Mike Green, chairman of the UKIP Burton branch, said: “I am absolutely delighted to welcome Councillor Birnie and Councillor Buxton to our branch.
“Both have come to UKIP because they are attracted by our common sense local and national policies.
“Following our success in the recent county council elections councillors from around the country, from across the political spectrum, are learning that UKIP really stands for local democracy which none of the other parties allow.”
Mike Ackroyd, chairman of the Conservative Association in Burton, said: "I think that it is a bit strange. I am very surprised by it."