Great Yarmouth Tory councillor defects to UKIP
PUBLISHED: 12:31 23 September 2014 | UPDATED: 13:35 23 September 2014
(C) Archant Norfolk 2014
A top Great Yarmouth Conservative councillor has defected from the party to join UKIP.
Sue Hacon has sat as a Tory member on the borough council for the last seven years but has moved to Euro-sceptic group after handing in her resignation.
The grandmother, who represents Bradwell South and Hopton, said she had become “disillusioned” by the leadership of the town’s Tory party and said she was “glad” to be joining UKIP.
“I do think it’s [UKIP] a party for change,” she added. “We’re not governed by a whip, you can vote by your conscious. It’s good and open and fresh for the town.”
Mrs Hacon said her decision to defect had stemmed back to the furore over long-standing Tory Jim Shrimplin being dropped by the party.
The decision not to re-select Mr Shrimplin, a borough councillor for more than 30 years, caused upset among members including Mrs Hacon, who spoke out about the shock decision.
She added: “I didn’t agree with the leader not taking the views of the group when it was ratified and it has since caused me to be very disillusioned about the party.”
Mrs Hacon said her decision to go was compounded after she was “bypassed” for the position of shadow cabinet member for environment.
“UKIP is not that far out of line with what I’m thinking, it made the decision so much easier,” she added. “I know I said I would stand down [at the next election] as I wanted more time with my grandchildren but life changes, things change.
“This is an important one for me.”
Mrs Hacon said there would be no need for a by-election as she can “walk over” to UKIP and change parties. She will now be standing for UKIP in the borough elections next year, when she will try to hold on to her Bradwell South and Hopton seat.
Graham Plant, Tory group leader, said he was “very disappointed” to be losing a member but thought Mrs Hacon should trigger a by-election, as that would be the “honourable” thing to do.
“The people who voted Sue in voted her in as a Conservative,” he added.