A SENIOR UKIP leader in Gloucestershire has jumped ship and re-joined the Conservative party on the county council.

Alan Preest, who led the party on Gloucestershire County Council, quit the party saying it "doesn't really have a point any more" after the EU Referendum.

Cllr Preest announced his decision to re-join the Conservatives - who he left in 2008 to help UKIP's cause.

The councillor for Lydney, who also serves on Forest of Dean District Council, said: “I’ve gone as far as I can as a UKIP councillor.

“With the referendum out of the way, UKIP doesn’t really have a point any more.

“I got into politics for one reason only – to do the best for Lydney and people who live here.

“I can do that job much better as part of a Conservative team. I will be applying to stand as a Conservative at next year’s county election.”

His decision means that the UKIP group at county level is reduced to two councillors, whilst the Conservative Group increases to twenty-five councillors.

Cllr Preest previously served as a Conservative County Councillor until 2008.

He has officially joined the Conservative Party, and the county Conservative group, and is applying to rejoin the Conservative group on Forest of Dean district council.

Stroud News and Journal:

Conservative councillor Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said the decision was a sign of unity in post-Brexit politics.

“This is a great example of how our country is beginning to pull together after the referendum,” he said.

“Alan Preest is an excellent local councillor, who does a fantastic job representing the people of Lydney – he will be a welcome addition to the Conservative team.”