Michael Read, the former Conservative candidate for Eastleigh Central ward who resigned from the Tory party at the weekend has now joined Ukip.
The retired Chandler’s Ford schoolteacher was welcomed by the Chairman of Ukip’s Winchester branch John Edwards.
Michael Read said he was ‘relieved’ to be joining Ukip:
“I haven’t changed my views at all but the conservative party has gone way too far to the left
“Ukip are not as they have been described – just a bunch of loons – I have got to know them they are good people.”
Read was the Deputy Chairman (political) of Eastleigh Conservative Association.
A graduate of Portsmouth University he has been involved in politics for a long time having joined the Conservatives in 1959.
His great-grandfather was Sir Edwin Cornwall a Liberal politician and Minister of Health Insurance in Lloyd George’s wartime cabinet as well as serving as deputy speaker.
A speaker of Spanish, Read is married to a Peruvian and their son is currently in Spain working as a missionary -the family are Mormons.
Indeed, Read’s Mormon beliefs meant, he said, that he could not accept the legalisation of same sex marriage under the Conservatives.
Read says he thinks there could be further defections.
“I’m sure more conservatives will follow because Ukip is not just a party blowing hot air.”
“In all campaigns I’ve been involved in the last few years the majority of people involved in them have been from Ukip”
In a special message to David Cameron Read said:
“It’s too late for you now There is no future in flip-flopping.”
“There has to be drastic changes and there is no one currently in the conservative party with the strength to do something about it”
John Edwards who himself defected from the English Democrats last year said:
“I’d like to welcome Michael to the party.
“We are very pleased he has changed the allegiance he has had since a young man to Ukip, it demonstrates how out of the touch that not only the Conservative, but all the main parties have become.
“That’s why its not only the Conservatives joining Ukip, people are flocking to Ukip because we share the same values – we all want our country back.
“Come May there will be a political sea change, not only with the European elections but also the local elections”.
Read says that althogh he hopes to contest a local seat as a Ukip candidate he wants to stay good friends with former conservative colleagues.
Not all his former Tory friends feel the same though.
One local senior party member – who did not wish to be named- told Eastleigh News.
“He always was on the fringes of the party.
“He’s not representative of the majority of grassroots activists, but rather holds some very extreme and occasionally, offensive views.
“Frankly, I think the party will be better off without him.”
Photos ©eastleighnews 2014