End of only UKIP council

A new leader of Thanet District Council has been elected, which has signalled the final death knell for the only UKIP-led local authority.

Conservative Bob Bayford was voted in at a meeting last night (1st March), despite the icy roads and disruption to public transport.  Noticeably absent were a number of UKIP councillors, including former leader Chris Wells.

The public gallery was packed, with attendings including South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay.  Cllr Bayford and Labour’s Karen Constantine were the only two nominations for the leadership.

Leader Cllr Bayford said: “We have got 14 months [until the 2019 district elections] and a significant minority.  There are going to be difficult challenges but I think we are up to it.”

Mr Mackinlay said: “I wish Bob every success and we can really show the island we can have a better place.  I think we can say the UKIP brand is pretty much at its end.”

He added that the Local Plan would be a priority and there would now be council backing for aviation-only use at the Manston airport site.

The election follows the resignation of former leader Chris Wells after a UKIP Party split prompted by January’s vote on the Thanet Draft Local Plan.

Read the full story at the Isle of Thanet News.

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