Former county council leader Nick Clarke says he’s quit UKIP -’I sense their role is over’- and hopes to rejoin the Conservatives

PUBLISHED: 16:24 05 April 2017

Nigel Farage (left) and Nick Clarke

Nigel Farage (left) and Nick Clarke

Archant

Former county council leader Nick Clarke revealed today he’s quit UKIP – the party he fought for as police and crime commissioner for Cambridgeshire- and hopes to rejoin the Conservatives.

Mr Clarke, who blamed living 12 miles from his Fulbourn ward for his defeat in the 2013 elections, said today: “It is time to give our full support to the Conservative PM.”

He said: “The Conservative Party is the only party that is able and now willing to execute on Brexit.

“It is the only party that has the drive, the organisation and the experience to take this country to much greater things outside of the EU.

“I have not renewed my membership of UKIP and will be seeking to rejoin the Conservative Party.”

He said that three years ago the chance of a historic referendum on the EU was seemingly out of reach. The chances of winning a vote to leave the EU, whilst hugely desirable, seemed a long shot.

“We had a Conservative PM who wanted to stay in the EU, supported by a pro EU Chancellor,” he said. “The Conservative Party had been split over the EU for decades. Getting clear, thoughtful messages out about the benefits of leaving the EU was difficult.

“UKIP had been on the rise since 2013 and was driving the agenda to leave the EU. More specifically Nigel Farage was applying pressure to the government at every turn. It was clear to me that he needed all the assistance he could get, both nationally and at the local level.”

Two years ago he said he left the Conservative Party and joined UKIP as “it was important to me to be able to speak out clearly to explain to people why I believed leaving the EU was the right thing.

“Last year, we had the historic EU referendum. Against all odds we won. I joined UKIP to help get a job done and sensationally it has been.”

But now, he said, “I sense the role for UKIP is now over.

“Our attention must now be on getting the very best Brexit deal that is possible. This means giving Theresa May the maximum support possible so that she does not get distracted by domestic politics. UKIP splitting the Conservative vote no longer makes any sense.”

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