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Former Wolverhampton mayor quits Lib Dems to join Ukip

Wolverhampton | News | Published:

The former mayor of Wolverhampton and the leader of the city's Liberal Democrats Councillor Malcolm Gwinnett has defected to the UK Independence Party.

The long-serving councillor, who has represented Spring Vale since 1990 and served as mayor from 2010 to 2011, accused his former party of having 'forgotten about the people'.

His defection comes just hours before Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg faces Ukip's Nigel Farage in a second televised debate on the European Union.

Mr Farage welcomed Councillor Gwinnett to Ukip today, saying: "Malcolm is not only a former mayor but has proven himself to have great fighting spirit too, having undergone an urgent heart transplant in 2012 and battling his way back to fitness. It also goes to show that we really are attracting members from across the political spectrum."

Councillor Gwinnett said the Liberal Democrats were not in tune with local people on issues such as immigration and high speed rail. He also accused his colleagues in Wolverhampton of letting him down. He took over the leadership of the Lib Dem group on Wolverhampton City Council last May, when predecessor Mike Heap became deputy mayor. But Councillor Gwinnett then found himself de-selected by the party for the upcoming elections.

Councillor Gwinnett said: "They broke an agreement that they would not do the selection until September when I had the all clear from the hospital."

Councillor Gwinnett's defection leaves the Liberal Democrats with just two councillors on Wolverhampton City Council, both of whom also represent Spring Vale.

Read Councillor Gwinnett's piece on why he is joining Ukip here.

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