Labour mayor defects to Ukip
The Labour mayor of a northern town has defected from his party and announced he is joining Ukip.
Councillor Colin Race told colleagues in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, at a town council meeting.
The life-long Labour voter said he now felt Ukip was the only party which supported hard-working families.
He said: "Year-on-year it has become increasingly clear that Labour are neglecting voters and taking us all for granted.
"The Labour Party that I once knew - the party that stuck up for the working families - is no more.
"We have a cosy consensus of politicians in Westminster who spend more time patting each other on the back than representing the people who pay their wages at the end of the month.
"Here in the North East we have the highest rates of unemployment in the country, how are my kids meant to get a job when our political class support open-door mass immigration from 27 other EU member states?"
The defection, which was announced last night, was welcomed by Ukip's MEP for the North East, Jonathan Arnott, who said: "Labour Party members across our region are simply realising that the incredibly wealthy individuals who sit at the top of the Labour Party don't, and make no attempt to, work for hard-working, law-abiding citizens across the country.
"Only Ukip are offering a sensible, credible alternative to the Labour Party who have neglected the North East for years."
A Labour North spokesman said: "On the day Nigel Farage confirmed his plans to privatise the NHS, people in Bishop Auckland will rightly be questioning the decision of one of their town councillors.
"Ukip's policies include another tax break for millionaires, higher taxes on working families, scrapping rights at work and higher bankers' bonuses.
"They can't be described as a party who will stand up for working people. In reality they are more Tory than the Tories."