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Friday, 01 August 2014

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Cumbrian Conservative defects to UKIP

A well-known former Conservative is making a political comeback as a UK Independence Party candidate.

Bob Hardon photo
Former Allerdale mayor Bob Hardon

Bob Hardon, 69, is standing in Workington’s St John and Great Clifton ward in the county council elections on May 2.

Mr Hardon, of Abbey Close, lost his Stainburn seat by just two votes to Labour’s Mark Fryer in the 2011 Allerdale Council elections. He will be up against Labour’s Michael Heaslip and Joe Holliday, who is standing as an independent.

Mr Hardon, a former mayor, started canvassing for the Conservatives in the Labour stronghold of Salterbeck more than half a century ago.

He said: “Back then there were a lot of working class Conservatives, colliers and steelworkers and even lads who worked on the ash cars.

“But the establishment has turned their back on working class Conservatives, and Labour is left wing Conservatism under a different name: it has lost its socialist roots.

“The only party that represents the hard working population is UKIP. It’s a fresh face in politics with an approach that is more in keeping with the grassroots opinions of the man on the street.”

The former architectural technician was also on Workington town council for more than 20 years before he lost his seat in 2011.

A committed Anglican, he decided to defect when Prime Minister David Cameron came out in support of gay marriage.

The father-of-three also praised Workington MP Tony Cunningham’s stance on the issue.

Sir Tony, a Catholic, was among 22 Labour MPs who voted against the legislation in a free Commons vote in February.

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