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Last Ukip councillor in NI quits the party over its 'cowardly conduct'

By Suzanne Breen, Political Editor

UKIP'S sole councillor in Northern Ireland has resigned from the party and accused it of "scheming, cowardly conduct".

Donna Anderson, a member of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, said she would continue to represent her constituents as an independent.

"I have stepped down from Ukip and severed all ties with the party," she said.

"The past few months have been extremely difficult and challenging for me personally due to pressure placed on me (by the party)."

She continued: "The scheming, cowardly conduct of Ukip has placed huge emotional pressure and stress on myself as a result of this.

"As an elected representative and single mum of a young man with severe learning difficulties, I have enough challenges to deal with day and daily".

Ms Anderson criticised her treatment by the party.

Last night Ukip denied her accusations.

Ms Anderson defected from the TUV to Ukip three years ago, joining Noel Jordan to become the party's second member on the council.

Mr Jordan left Ukip in June after the party withdrew the whip from him.

Ms Anderson said her problems with the party began when she nominated Mr Jordan, whom she described as a "hard-working, diligent and selfless colleague", for deputy chair of the council's community planning committee.

"Just hours previously, and without having notified me, Ukip unceremoniously dumped Councillor Jordan," Ms Anderson said.

"Despite this, I was honoured to proceed with the nomination of a fellow elected member who sets the bar for many when it comes to his work within the local community.

"In recent weeks, Ukip announced they were investigating my conduct following my nomination of Councillor Jordan.

"This involved reporting me to the Northern Ireland Local Government Commissioner for Standards. At the very least they might have had the courtesy to notify me personally and I was humiliated to be notified by a third party. I followed all the correct procedures and have a clear conscience following the decisions I took, which were for the betterment of the citizens of Mid and East Antrim."

Ms Anderson added that the "strain the party has put me under in recent weeks", coupled with her "complete lack in confidence" in Ukip, led to her decision to leave with immediate effect.

A Ukip Northern Ireland spokesman said: "We strenuously deny Ms Anderson's accusations.

"There was no vendetta or witch-hunt against her.

"We had removed the whip from Noel Jordan and Ms Anderson supported him for a council position against the wishes of the party."

In May, a Ukip councillor in Portadown resigned from the party after what he claimed was a snub by Nigel Farage who was the guest speaker at a DUP fundraising event in Ballymena.

David Jones said it was unacceptable he had heard third-hand that his former party leader was attending the event.

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