Local politics tends to throw up the odd bizarre story here and there, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything to match this one:
A CONSERVATIVE candidate in the Worcester city council elections has plunged her party into chaos by secretly joining the UK Independence Party.
Melanie Heider, a German national, is standing in the Arboretum ward – the most marginal seat in Worcester.
But unknown to Tory bosses, she joined UKIP seven weeks ago.
The shock revelation – which the Worcester News broke to the Tory party yesterday – has thrown the group’s election campaign into confusion.
It will come as a particularly heavy blow to the Conservative Party, which is so keen to win the seat it has asked city councillors to dip into their own pockets to fund Miss Heider’s campaign.
So, just for starters we have what appears to be German citizen standing in an election to an English Council as a Conservative candidate, who then goes off and joins the UK Independence Party, which – of course – campaigns amongst other things for Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
The party has insisted she is unlikely to be sacked, but is currently investigating whether she breached any rules.
While I can’t see that the Tories constitution is available online, the rules for candidates applying to be considered as a candidate for London Mayor (Greg Dyke, excluded presumably) do state clear that applicants should be a member of Tory Party and not any other political party, which rather makes one think that the same basic rules might apply.
It gets even better when we get to Miss Heider’s own comments…
Miss Heider moved to the UK from Germany in 1986 and has lived in Worcester since 1997. She used to run a business in Tewkesbury, selling fine chocolate, but is now a University of Worcester student, studying for a degree in social welfare and psychology.
She said: “I joined UKIP because I was interested in what their policies were and wanted to find out more about them.
You could just have asked. I could be wrong but I’m sure UKIP would be happy to discuss their policies with you with you first having to fill in a membership form. I mean. come on, no one’s ever tried to suggest that I should sign-up just to talk to DK…
“I am not happy this has come out and want to say my allegiance is with the Conservative Party.
So why join UKIP?
“I am working very hard to get elected in Arboretum and want to stand for the ward as a Conservative candidate.
“I don’t think UKIP and the Conservatives contradict each other in a huge way.”
Maybe not, but they are entirely separate political parties – i.e. not the same…
And, of course, the real irony here is that Miss Heider can – as a German citizen – only stand for election in the UK because Britain is a member of EU, which UKIP opposes.
Are you following this? Not only has she managed to join two different political parties, but also managed to join one that, if it were to in position to put its policies into practice, would remove her ability to stand for election in this country.
Turkeys, it seems, do vote for Christmas, after all.