The UKIP group leader on Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Colin Mair, has spoken out for the first time since the local group was split and its leader removed from the party.
Colin Mair says the five remaining members of the ‘UKIP Lincolnshire’ breakway group could “end up not being members of UKIP” while ousted leader “Chris Pain in pursuing his own private war with senior people in UKIP.”
He says the breakaway group were told they “are welcome to stay in the main UKIP group,” which would gain UKIP again official opposition status on the County Council if it gains 13 or more members. However, Councillor Mair says none of them have indicated they would return.Timeline: The rise and troubles of UKIP in Lincolnshire →
Councillor Colin Mair’s statement in full below:
“We have maintained a dignified silence over the problems Chris Pain has had with UKIP and I have watched the media campaign being run by Chris and his team with a growing feeling that here we have people who are trying to go out of their way to destroy UKIP.
“There are a lot of good people working for UKIP, not the least being the ten county councillors left high and dry by the antics of Chris Pain. We continue to work hard for our constituents and our party, ignoring as much as possible the distractions of the splinter group.
“If you look at the webcast of last Friday’s county council meeting you will see our group contributing very positively to the meeting, for example. It is sad that good people decided to break away with Chris Pain and it is also a fact that the inevitable result of this, if things do not change, is that they will end up not being members of UKIP.
“Before all this our group was becoming completely fragmented, with an atmosphere of bullying, back-biting and mud-slinging, and we were facing a break up of the group. With the suspension of Chris Pain we decided to get a grip of the problem and now have a team who have fitted happily together in an atmosphere where there is no blame, pressure or bullying.
“People who chose to follow Chris Pain have been told they are welcome to stay in the main UKIP group but so far none have indicated that they will do so. It is so sad that Chris Pain, in pursuing his own private war with senior people in UKIP, is dragging down these good people.
“As Nigel Farage said [this week] there have been a few ripples caused by the teething problems of a growing organisation and in the long term this whole issue will be seen as a relatively insignificant problem. Outside our immediate Lincolnshire community nobody is even aware of the dispute.
“Finally I would like to thank all the ten county councillors for the dignified way they have continued to do the job they were elected to do without being dragged into a media mud-slinging campaign.
“None of us had anything to do with the problems created by Chris Pain with the UKIP national executive. We have simple been victims of the collateral damage caused by his campaign against UKIP,” Colin Mair said.