Ousted Conservative David Hirst becomes the city council's second UKIP member
Ousted Tory city councillor David Hirst has become the second UK Independence Party member on the city council.
Cllr Hirst, who represents Greenhill and Eddington, had been sitting as an independent after he was kicked out of the Conservative party in February.
He upset council leader John Gilbey by supporting the county council's plan to remove the controversial Westgate Towers traffic trial, when the city council wanted to continue it.
He subsequently lost his seat on the county council - ironically, to a UKIP candidate - in the May elections.
Now, he has announced his defection to UKIP - and vowed that the party will take control of the city council by 2015.
Cllr Hirst says: "Independence was forced on me by Canterbury Conservatives who took away the whip because I did not agree with them over the Westgate Towers trial.
"Having done that and looked at the way the trial and consultation has been conducted, with a singular lack of transparency and cohesive policy, I could not sit back.
"I intend to steer UKIP through to take the council over in 2015 - and I'm not joking either, I think the people want change and it is not going to just happen. Someone has to make it happen."
He added: "I think joining UKIP is more a statement than getting on a couple of committees.
"The executive will do what they want anyway. It is a statement that this in my view is the way things will go.
"In Canterbury we need UKIP. We need change. I want 38 members to stand as Ukip in the next election."
Cllr Hirst has been vocal about his unceremonious sacking from the party he served for 14 years, and a "culture of bullying" in the council chamber.
Speaking to the Kentish Gazette in May, he said he enjoyed the freedom his independent status afforded him, and spoke of plans to set up an independents alliance.
He wanted to find candidates prepared to stand in every ward at the 2015 elections.
Now, he has joined UKIP's Mike Bull, who took the late Conservative councillor Mike Sharp's Seasalter seat at a by-election last month, diminishing the authority's Tory majority to 16.
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