Former mayor becomes latest person to join UKIP
PUBLISHED: 18:00 10 December 2013 | UPDATED: 10:04 11 December 2013
A former mayor of Barking and Dagenham has quit the Labour Party and switched her allegiance to UKIP.
Cllr Dee Hunt, who has represented the Mayesbrook ward on Barking and Dagenham Council for eight years, had been a Labour member for more than 25 years.
She becomes the second Labour councillor to quit the party after Robert Douglas also joined UKIP in September this year.
Cllr Hunt said: “I’ve felt adrift from the Labour Party for sometime now and I’ve been looking at UKIP for a little while as an alternative.
“I want to work with residents because I feel the increase in cuts on services like the schools, the NHS and housing will be counter-productive.”
In June Cllr Hunt was de-selected as a Labour candidate for next year’s local elections and that helped sway her decision to leave.
Following a meeting with Lawrence Webb, a UKIP councillor in neighbouring Havering, she felt she had to “convince them that they were the party for me”.
Cllr Webb said: “The fact that Dee has come from Labour demonstrates that people from across the political divide now realise that only UKIP has the policies that resonate with ordinary people.”
Labour campaign officer Cllr Darren Rodwell said he was disappointed in by Dee’s decision and promised to “vigorously oppose” and “expose” UKIP’s policies.
He said: “I am disappointed by Dee’s decision but people need to realise that the Labour Party has raised the candidate bar in Barking & Dagenham.
“We had fantastic success when we beat the BNP three years ago and we’re serious in building on the work we have done since then.
“Unfortunately some of those who failed the selection like Cllr Hunt and Douglas believe they can take a different path to becoming a councillor.
“We will vigorously oppose UKIP and take every opportunity to expose their divisive policies - just like we did the BNP in 2010.”