The Fylde coast has its first UKIP councillor as a community leader announced his move to the controversial political party today.
Wyre Coun Don MacNaughton, ward councillor for Bourne, in Thornton, has joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and will stand as a UKIP councillor in local elections next May.
The former Conservative councillor has said he has been moving towards the party’s politics in recent months, saying he feels it is the party which he can offer constituents the best results through.
He said: “It’s something I’ve been moving towards for a while now.
“I don’t feel I’ve left the Conservatives, I feel they’ve left me.
“One or two people I’ve spoken to recognise that UKIP will be a force to be reckoned with.
“I like being a councillor to help people and serve the community.
“I’m concerned, nationally, about policies they’re pursuing. I’ve thought for years that we’d be better off without being the European Union (EU).
“Locally, I feel UKIP is a party which stands for the man in the street and ordinary people. We’re looking for common sense policies that help the average person.
“Things like getting street lights sorted out and the roads are clean, and making sure money is spent wisely and thrown away on grandiose policy.”
He disagreed with Lancashire County Council’s policy of introducing 20mph zones across parts of Wyre and Fylde, saying the money could have been spent better on other priorities.
He said: “I don’t think this is saving any lives but it’s cost a fortune. That’s money which could be spent elsewhere.”
Locally Coun MacNaughton has lobbied for Lancashire County Council to reassess the way in which funding is shared out across the county so as not to miss out Thornton and Fleetwood.
He has also supported the expansion of Victrex plc in his ward and sits on the committee for Thornton Gala.
He added: “I’ve had small victories which have helped people and that’s good.”
Coun MacNaughton, who shares his Bourne constituency with Conservative member Coun Julie Newsham and Labour member Coun Terry Lees, said he felt the need to have the backing of an established political party when facing the election in 2015.
He added: “I’ve been a UKIP member for more than a month. I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon.
“I could stand as an independent but without a party machine it’s difficult to win an election.”
The 67-year-old has played a part in student and local politics for five decades, fighting seven elections, in Lancashire, Wyre and Blackpool.
He stressed he has seen no evidence of racism or sexism in the party, which has courted media attention over some members’ comments.
The Scottish councillor said: “Speaking for myself, I’m not racist - I tolerate the English.
“I wouldn’t go within a million miles of a party like that.
“I’ve been a political animal all my life. Politics has always fascinated me.”