THE UK Independence Party in South Tyneside is alive and kicking, one of the party’s leading figures in the borough has maintained.
Councillor Steve Harrison and his fellow Fellgate and Hedworth representative Linda Hemmer joined UKIP three months ago.
At the time they were accompanied in the switch by fellow independent Coun George Elsom, who represents Cleadon Park in South Shields.
It was meant to mark a new political dawn and a chance for the borough’s opposition to unite against a dominant Labour Party in the council chamber.
But Coun Elsom has since jumped ship, and returned to his independent roots.
That’s not a route which either Couns Harrison or Hemmer are to follow.
Today Coun Harrison committed his future to UKIP and revealed the party was aiming to stand candidates in all 18 wards up for grabs at next year’s local elections.
At a recent gathering at the Little Haven Hotel, 14 new members signed up to the party.
Coun Harrison, chairman of UKIP’S borough branch, said: “We’re still committed to UKIP, which is the only party without a party whip.
“That means we don’t have to tow the party line and are able to make decisions based on what is best for Fellgate and Hedworth.
“George may have left, but we will still work with him in the council chamber to provide a strong opposition to Labour.
“The party’s also hoping to stand candidates at every ward next May.”