Paul Nuttall has had quite a week. After the scandal surrounding his Hillsborough comments sent him into hiding, the UKIP leader needed some good news. But a Green Party trouncing in a council by-election was certainly not what he was hoping for.
A Green revolution?
The Green Party snatched a seat from UKIP in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Green candidate Sid Phelps won with 35.3% of the vote; a 19.2% increase in vote share and a 14.6% swing from UKIP. The win showed promise for the Greens, a party that came sixth in the 2015 elections.
But the by-election came about for a somewhat bizarre reason. Former UKIP councillor Colin Guyton sat on both Gloucestershire County Council and the Forest of Dean District Council. But he reportedly tried to stand down from both after the EU referendum last June.
According to Gloucestershire Live, Guyton was asked to stay on as an independent councillor at the county council to save it money on a by-election.
I effectively stood down [in August 2016] but I’ve hung around as an independent at the request of the Conservative leader of the County Council, because they didn’t want a by-election.
Things. Can only get… hang on…
His decision to stay on as an independent reportedly saved the council over £15,000. But Guyton has remained tight-lipped about why he quit UKIP. Fellow ex-UKIP Forest of Dean councillor Alan Preest also resigned when Guyton did. A former Tory, Preest said he’d quit UKIP to rejoin his old party because, after the EU referendum, “UKIP doesn’t really have a point any more”.
And with Nutall and UKIP now facing chaos across the country, ‘What’s the point of UKIP?’ is probably a question on many people’s lips.
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