Curiouser and curiouser! A Liberal Democrat councillor named Diane Horn has defected to UKIP ahead of standing for election to the Snepshed borough and town council elections later this year. She explained her decision to switch to UKIP as arising from her disillusionment with the Liberal Democrats, occasioned by, according to the Loughborough Echo, the fact that “I am no longer sure what the Lib Dems represent.”
Councillor Horn is not impressed by Nick Clegg and his volte-face over the tuition fees issue. She told the paper that she thought that the Lib Dems are considering some “frightening” measures in connection with the NHS, whereas “UKIP is trying to protect jobs and repair the UK economy and reduce debts.” For her, UKIP’s stance is also closer to her own insofar as she wants “to make sure the people of England are put first.” Leaving the EU therefore holds no fears for her. Councillor Horn has served her local community as an elected representative for nine and a half years, and before her defection, was considering standing down altogether, owing to her disillusionment with her former party.
Sadly, and predictably, Councillor Horn has been called a ‘racist’ owing to her change of party allegiance. She is not.
How many more defections might occur? It would, of course, be entering the realms of science fiction to imagine a Lib Dem MP defecting to UKIP, but it will be interesting to see how robust their grassroots membership proves to be in the coming years. Although Councillor Horn’s choice of new party is unlikely to appeal to most Lib Dems, the Greens must surely present a more agreeable home for many of them. It will be interesting to see what impact the seven-way debates have on the relative fortunes of the Greens, the Lib Dems and Labour.