Craig Mackinlay predicts ‘absolute wipeout’ of Ukip seats in upcoming KCC elections

PUBLISHED: 11:37 06 April 2017

Craig Mackinlay. Picture: Ady Kerry

Craig Mackinlay. Picture: Ady Kerry

Ady Kerry

The comments come as former Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless is reportedly set to quit Ukip

Craig Mackinlay has predicted an “absolute wipeout” of Ukip seats on Kent County Council in next month’s election.

Questions have again been raised this week on the future of the party, with former Rochester and Strood MP Mark Reckless reportedly set to quit.

It is the latest controversy in a turbulent nine months for Ukip since the EU referendum, which has also seen the defections of its only MP, Douglas Carswell, and former Rochester schoolgirl Diane James, who led the party for a total of 18 days.

One of the founding fathers of Ukip himself, Mr Mackinlay told us the morning after Britain voted to leave the EU he felt “the reason for their existence has now gone”.

Ukip is currently the main party of opposition on the council with 17 seats but the South Thanet MP could not forsee a repeat of its performance in 2013.

“Ukip had a purpose to get Britain out of the European Union and it can be proud to have been part of that team, but it’s a bit like Ronseal - it does what it says on the tin,” he said.

“What other policy have they got that you could put your finger on?

“I guess they have a purpose of not being any of the others, but they have no policies that are a USP that anybody could recognise because their primary purpose has been fulfilled.

“Beyond being an ‘I’m annoyed’ party, the electorate need to ask what they’re doing for them.

“The KCC elections could be an absolute wipe out, leaving them with a very, very small handful of seats or maybe even none at all.

“Labour could well lose a couple and there might be a slight resurgence of the Lib Dems but the Conservatives will have a very successful election, I’m sure.”

Responding to Mr Mackinlay’s comments, and referencing the fine the Tories were slapped with last month for “understating” election spending, Chris Wells, the leader of the only Ukip-controlled council in the country, in Thanet, said: “I am interested in how he does his sums.”

On the impact of Mr Reckless’ reported departure on voters in Kent, Cllr Wells said: “On behalf of all the Ukippers who work hard every day to deliver the services that our residents want, I would simply say the quicker our central party sorts itself out and works out who is doing what, the easier life will be.

“You would not find candidates who are harder-working or more in-tune to residents’ wishes than those in Thanet.”

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