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UKIP councillor called a 'double agent'

UKIP councillor called a 'double agent'

James Preston

UKIP councillor called a 'double agent'

A UKIP councillor claims he has been called a 'double agent' since announcing some Conservative councillors in Windsor and Ascot could go unopposed in the 2015 election.

Cllr Tom Bursnall, leader of the UK Independence Party's (UKIP) Windsor branch, said he has faced a backlash from some party members since revealing he will not actively be seeking candidates to stand against seven Tory councillors earlier this month.

But the Clewer East ward councillor has stood by his decision and said the party needs to establish 'a good base locally' in order to achieve national success.

Cllr Bursnall caused a stir when he and his wife, the former mayoress Cllr Catherine Bursnall (Castle Without), took the decision to defect from the Conservatives to the eurosceptic party last year.

But he maintains the decision was based on national, rather than local, politics, and said the current Conservative-led council 'do many things a UKIP council would do'.

He denied any suggestion of a 'deal' or 'pact', and said: "The way I see it is we are not at a stage where we can stand against everyone.

"We have got to realistic about what we can achieve.

"There are councillors I do think we could do business with, and others I don't think we could do business with."

Cllr Phill Bicknell (Park), Cllr George Bathurst (Castle Without) and Cllr Jesse Grey (Datchet) are among the seven Tories who are set to go unopposed.

The election of Lib Dem Cllr Simon Werner by just eight votes at last year's Pinkneys Green by-election also influenced the decision.

Cllr Bursnall pointed to a split vote between the Conservatives and UKIP and added: "It's an example. If that were replicated across 40 wards we would have a Labour or Lib Dem administration.

"The Conservatives need to wake up to that."

Andy Heap, chairman of the Maidenhead branch of UKIP, said no thought has been given to replicating the strategy in the area as yet.

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