Ukip candidate quits ‘joke’ party to rejoin Tories

AN Edinburgh doctor who was due to be a general election candidate for Ukip has quit the party and rejoined the Tories.

Tuesday, 31st March 2015, 10:17 am
Scottish Tory party leader Ruth Davidson launches the manifesto. Picture: Jane Barlow

Jon Stanley, who fought the Liberton/Gilmerton council by-election for Ukip in June 2013, accused the party in Scotland of being sectarian and undemocratic and branded its referendum campaign last year “a joke”.

He said the final straw was MEP David Coburn’s controversial comments comparing Scottish Government minister Humza Yousaf to terrorist Abu Hamza,

Dr Stanley, who works as an NHS surgeon, was due to stand against leading Liberal Democrat Tim Farron in the Westmorland and Lonsdale seat in Cumbria at the forthcoming Westminster election.

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But he resigned just over a week ago and was at the launch of the Scottish Conservatives’ general election campaign at Dynamic Earth yesterday to cheer on his new party colleagues.

Dr Stanley said Ukip had chosen not to take Scotland seriously.

He said: “I thought the preparation for the indy referendum was incredibly poor. We are meant to be fighting a European referendum some day. This was the dress rehearsal, but it was not impressive and quite worrying actually.

“In the Scottish party for a long time there has been a very sectarian agenda and a very undemocratic agenda.”.

He said the regional committee last met in July 2013. “Since then it has been very much run by central office and by the party chairman. There has been no accountability and numerous complaints by people, including myself, have been completely ignored.”

He said Ukip treated Scotland as “a province to be quietened, not a nation to be engaged”.

He said the remarks by Mr Coburn about Humza Yousaf were “the final straw”. “This was the time for him to be slapped down properly,” he said. “But that didn’t happen.”

He said he had previously been a member of the Conservative Party but quit in 2011 and joined Ukip the following year.

He said he was sad to leave but was happy to be back with the Conservatives and claimed the party had “found its feet” since the referendum.

A Ukip spokesman said Mr Stanley and the party had been drifting apart politically for some time and his resignation came as no surprise.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said the Tories should go it alone and form a minority government if they fail to win the election outright.

She said it did not look “right now” as if the party would secure an overall majority and suggested that rather than seek another coalition, David Cameron could learn from the SNP administration which ruled Scotland as a minority for four years from 2007.

And she launched a strongly-worded attack on Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

She said: “I don’t know what’s happened to the once proud Labour and Lib Dem parties. All we see now are headless chickens – still running around the chicken coop, not a brain cell in sight and about to get stuffed. I don’t think Scots deserve to get dragged into their mess.

“Labour, the SNP and the Lib Dems simply aren’t prepared for responsible government which keeps the recovery on track. Their plans are unfit for our country’s needs – and it’s our job to make sure they don’t get to use them.”

Greens eye benefits of membership surge

Scottish Greens have launched their general election manifesto, pledging to tackle poverty, protect public services and secure more powers for Scotland and local communities.

The party, which has seen its membership surge to over 8500 since the referendum, is fighting 31 out of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats.

Its policies are based on three themes – equality not poverty, including a £10 minimum wage; public services in public hands, including publicly-owned railways; and power to communities.

Scottish Greens co-convener Patrick Harvie, pictured, said: “Everyone is tired of the same old Westminster politics. Scotland is ready for change and people are eager to vote for ideas they can believe in.

“The Green membership surge means we’re in a strong position to send principled voices to speak up for Scotland’s communities. Our bold vision for Scotland and the UK is a compelling offer that others simply can’t match.”

Edinburgh councillor Maggie Chapman, and fellow co-convener, said a £10 minimum wage would ensure no-one worked in a job that kept them in poverty. She said: “By rolling back benefits cuts and lifting the punishing sanctions regime, we can restore a society with compassion.”

And Peter McColl, candidate for Edinburgh East, said: “Scottish Green MPs would tackle wealth inequality with a tax on the richest one per cent; return the railways to public ownership to invest in decent public transport; and oppose the TTIP corporate power grab.”