Outspoken North East Conservative councillor quits the party to join UKIP (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Outspoken North East Conservative councillor for Yarm quits the party to join UKIP
AN outspoken North-East councillor has announced his decision to quit the conservative party and join UKIP at its annual party conference.
Councillor Mark Chatburn, who represents Yarm and Kirklevington on Stockton Borough Council as well as being a member of Yarm Town Council, has quit the party two years after he was elected.
Since his election, the councillor has been a vehement critic of a number of government’s policies including cutting spending on defence, the National Planning Policy Framework, and most recently the EU Referendum Bill, which was brought forward by Stockton South MP James Wharton.
He said: “It is with a degree of sadness that I no longer feel able to lend my support to the party I have actively supported all of my adult life. It is difficult to think of a single area where this government has proven itself a success.
“We see ever rising living costs, with inflation outstripping pay rises in nearly every single month since David Cameron came to power.
"In addition, unemployment remains stubbornly high in the North-East, with this government appearing to have neither the ideas nor the inclination to tackle this.
“Particularly damaging to the residents I represent has been the National Planning Policy Framework, or developers’ charter, championed by the Conservative half of the coalition, which opened the door to the proliferation of unwanted and unneeded housing applications in and around Yarm and which will see our town gridlocked.”
Along with the town’s residents, he fought against several successful planning applications in the town, which include plans for a 350-home and 100-bedroom care home complex being built at Mount Leven Farm.
He has also spoken out about Stockton Borough Council’s controversial plans to impose parking charges in Yarm High Street.
Explaining the reasoning behind his defection, Coun Chatburn said: “UKIP is the only mainstream political party that insists its councillors put their communities first, not party politics. This is the way it should be and is just plain common sense.
“I have a great working relationship with councillors from all political parties on both Stockton and Yarm Councils, particularly with fellow Yarm councillor Andrew Sherris, and I have no doubt this will continue to be the case.”
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