The new leader of UKIP in Lincolnshire says Chris Pain’s ‘private war’ with party bosses is ‘dragging down’ the rest of the party in the county.
Coun Colin Mair has chosen to speak out over the row which has erupted over the two weeks, which first saw former county leader Chris Pain suspended from UKIP, ousted as leader by fellow members and then kicked out by party bosses following a disciplinary hearing.
Coun Pain led a a breakaway group of six councillors which reduced UKIP’s numbers to ten and saw Labour overtake the party as the official opposition at Count Hall.
Coun Mair, who represents the Tattershall ward at county level, said he has previously chosen to maintain a ‘dignified silence’ over the row but today spoke out.
He said: “There are a lot of good people working for UKIP, not the least being the ten county councillors left high and dry by the antics of Chris Pain.
“We continue to work hard for our constituents and our party, ignoring as much as possible the distractions of the splinter group.”
He added: “It is sad that good people decided to break away with Chris Pain and it is also a fact that the inevitable result of this, if things do not change, is that they will end up not being members of UKIP.”
Coun Mair said the atmosphere in the party was of ‘bullying, back-biting and mud-slinging’ and that Coun Pain was ousted to get a grip of the issues.
His comments come ahead of this weekend’s UKIP conference and he said that leader Nigel Farage has acknowledged that the party has had ‘teething problems’.
Coun Mair, who lost an East Lindsey District Council by-election at Frithville last week, said the Chris Pain issue will become seen to be ‘relatively insignificant’ in the long run.
He said: “People who chose to follow Chris Pain have been told they are welcome to stay in the main UKIP group but so far none have indicated that they will do so.
“It is so sad that Chris Pain, in pursuing his own private war with senior people in UKIP, is dragging down these good people.”
He added: “Finally I would like to thank all the ten county councillors for the dignified way they have continued to do the job they were elected to do without being dragged into a media mud-slinging campaign.
“None of us had anything to do with the problems created by Chris Pain with the UKIP national executive. We have simple been victims of the collateral damage caused by his campaign against UKIP.”