Chris Pain has today been ousted from the leadership of Lincolnshire’s UKIP group by fellow councillors.
The Standard revealed yesterday that Coun Pain, who represents the Wainfleet and Burgh ward on the county council, is currently involved in a dispute with UKIP national chairman Steve Crowther.
Today that has resulted in him being removed as leader of the opposition, with Tattershall ward’s Colin Mair appointed new leader until a formal election is held.
Coun Pain said that he will form a separate ‘unaligned’ group within the county council – but still plans to stand for UKIP in Boston and Skegness for the General Election in 2015.
He accused people of ‘playing politics’ and said he does not want the party turmoil to scupper his suggestion of scrapping all of the county’s borough and district councils, which he says would save £25 million.
He said: “It’s a shame for people playing politics for something as vital as that. I have got to put the people first.
“I put in an official complaint about the chairman of the party and this is the reaction I get.”
He added: “It’s just a dispute. I have done nothing wrong within the party. It is a legal issue now from my point of view.”
Coun Pain says he will form a group with another five UKIP councillors, but declined to reveal who they were. He said that they may go under the banner of ‘Lincolnshire UKIP’ or another name for a temporary period.
UKIP issued the following statement: “Colin Mair was today appointed the interim leader of the UKIP group on Lincolnshire County Council.
“Mr Mair, who represents the Tattershall castle division on the council took up the role after receiving the written support of a clear majority of the UKIP group on the council.
“He has accepted the responsibility to lead the group until a formal election can be held.”
Tony McArdle, Lincolnshire County Council Chief Executive, said: “We have today received notification from a majority of the members of the UKIP group to the effect that Coun Chris Pain is not now a member of that group and consequently not its leader.
“As from today, Coun Colin Mair will be acting as leader of the UKIP group.”