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Ukip crisis: We're strongest at grassroots, says Eddie Powell

Friday 7th October 2016

A leading Ukip councillor says his party's recent national difficulties will have no bearing on its local influence.

Shepway south borough councillor Eddie Powell, speaking before leadership Steven Woolfe contender was hospitalised after an altercation with a fellow MEP, said his party's strength lay in local campaigns.

He spoke after Diane James had resigned the leadership after 18 days and amid rumours of vicious in-fighting at the top of the party.

Many wonder how long Ukip can last now that it has achieved its aim of taking Britain out of the EU.

But Cllr Powell - widely tipped to fight the Maidstone south east county council division next May - said: "If your local councillor is doing a good job, the residents will support you no matter which party you belong to.

"We're aware obviously of what's been reported about what's going on in the party at a national level but it doesn't affect what we do at the grassroots. That's where Ukip is strongest - at the community level."

He said that whoever stands as the Ukip candidate in Maidstone south east next year, they will fight on a ticket of house-building in the town, green issues, street cleanliness and a by-pass for Leeds and Langley to take pressure off those villages and Willington Street.

Cllr Powell, who lives near Chegworth, added: "I have seen first hand every day that there is too much pressure on the Leeds and Langley and on Willingston Street.

"You can't keep building houses and not make provision for the cars it will bring. This problem is only going to get worse."

Well-respected Maidstone south east member Gary Cooke faces losing his county council seat if Ukip stands and has admitted privately to colleagues he would be concerned if Cllr Pwell were to stand.

And since the popular Downswood and Otham councillor Gordon Newton cross the floor to Ukip, Cllr Cooke fears he will lose core support in a Tory heartland to Ukip.