Tory Defectors Join UKIP On Hunts District Council

dave17:12 Monday 4th November 2013
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

[C]HRIS MANN: Two councillors at Huntingdonshire District Council have announced they’re joining the UK Independence Party. Cllrs. Ken Churchill and Rod Farrer were originally elected as Conservative members. They both left the Tories early this year. Now they’ve announced jointly they’re joining UKIP. It comes six months after that party won twelve seats in the Cambridgeshire County Council elections. Well I’m joined on the line now by one of those two, Cllr Rod Farrer. Hello.
CHRIS MANN: Why have you decided to join UKIP?

ROD FARRER: Well I’ve been a Conservative for the last thirty years. I’ve been a county councillor for the last sixteen. I’ve been a district councillor for the last six. Bluntly I am very disconcerted with the way they’re going forward, and their policies, both locally and nationally. And I feel that I’ve been treated very badly by the Conservatives locally, and what else can I say?
CHRIS MANN: But why UKIP? We know that you’ve left the Conservatives. Why do you feel the need to join UKIP?
ROD FARRER: Well UKIP seem a lot nearer to proper Conservatives than Conservatives.
CHRIS MANN: On which policies?
ROD FARRER: On their immigration policies, on the way forward policies. I look at it like this. I can’t see as Cameron and his people have done much since they took over government, apart from trying to get this horrific expenditure down etcetera.
CHRIS MANN: Isn’t that the biggest issue that they had to tackle?
ROD FARRER: Well it is, but I’m sorry. I was a Cambridgeshire County councillor, and a Huntingdon District councillor when this happened. And I said to our leaders then, the way to tackle these problems is head-on, not go in, make a big cut, make a big fuss about what the Labour left us, but no ..
CHRIS MANN: OK. So are you jumping on the UKIP bandwagon? Is that what this is about?
ROD FARRER: I’ve always been my own man. I’ve never been a great politician. I stood in politics to help the people locally here. And hopefully over the years I’ve done it. I’m my own man, and I intend to do what I think is right for the people, and what the people ask me for. Cambridgeshire County Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Cabinet-led. You may as well not be there if you’re a backbencher, and so on. And unfortunately ..
CHRIS MANN: You’ve been promised something by UKIP, have you, to make this defection?
ROD FARRER: No no no no. I’ve been promised nothing by UKIP on that end of it.
CHRIS MANN: So you’re going to be a backbencher for them, are you?
CHRIS MANN: Are you going to be a backbencher for them?
ROD FARRER: Well I shall be a councillor for them. And hopefully being a backbencher for them gives you a bit more say in what goes on. Because obviously, in District and County, you’re not in the Cabinet for what you know, but for who you know.
CHRIS MANN: There was a defection the other way in February actually. Marta Anderson defected from UKIP to the Conservative party. She described their leader as a Stalinist who was anti-women. Does that bother you?
ROD FARRER: I find Nigel very much in my own mould in some ways.
CHRIS MANN: Is that anti-women?
CHRIS MANN: Is that anti-women?
ROD FARRER: Certainly not. No. I’ve had many affairs. (LAUGHS)
CHRIS MANN: David Campbell Bannerman defected from the Conservatives. You’ll know him because he’s from Cambridgeshire. He said he’d been impressed by David Cameron, whilst UKIP was beset by internal fighting and not a credible political force.
ROD FARRER: I think you’ll always have internal fighting, won’t you, in that respect. I was there in the days of Major and so on. Our Conservative Party at Huntingdon was quite a nice going on. Unfortunately over the last five or six years they’ve lost it, they’ve lost their credibility.
CHRIS MANN: What’s your message to David Cameron, as you leave the Conservative and join this other party.
ROD FARRER: My message to David Cameron is basically get to grips with what the people of Britain want. I don’t think he can look at it like that. I revert back again to John Major. John Major could look at it on both ways. And I suppose the public school image that Cameron and his mates have got is not what people want to hear now. Those days have gone now.
CHRIS MANN: Cllr Rod Farrer. Thank you so much. That’s his first interview since announcing his joining of UKIP. left the Conservatives at the beginning of the year, but has now joined UKIP. Ken Churchill and Rod Farrer. And I should say that we’ve asked the Huntingdonshire Conservative Party Association to join this conversation, but they haven’t been able to provide anyone today.