EXCLUSIVE: Councillors banned from UKIP meeting
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ANTI-EU: Nigel Farage MEP spoke for 30 minutes at the Macdonald Hotel, in High Street, Windsor.
DISCOURAGED: Councillor George Bathurst said he wanted to attend was 'not encouraged to attend'.
NO COMMENT: Leader of the Royal Borough's Conservative run administration, councillor David Burbage, neither confirmed or denied his colleagues were told not to go.
CONSERVATIVE chiefs in the Royal Borough banned councillors from attending a public meeting held by UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage MEP.
Known Euro-sceptic councillor Leo Walters was the only Tory to appear at the meeting on Friday last week.
But several others, including councillor George Bathurst, had hoped to hear what Mr Farage and councillor Tom Bursnall, who defected with wife Cat to UKIP in March, had to say.
Cllr Bathurst said: "We are not exactly encouraged to go to other meetings. It would have been interesting to go and see what other people have to say and hopefully I can go to future events."
The news that Cllr Walters attended, and spoke, at the meeting at Macdonald Hotel, in High Street, Windsor, would not have surprised councillor David Burbage, leader of the Royal Borough, but Cllr Walters said: "I wasn't asked not to go. I believe in free and open discussion and I think there is no harm in hearing what other people have to say. It is common sense."
It was not just Conservative councillors who showed an interest in the meeting, as councillor Cynthia Endacott, of the West Windsor Independent Group, was part of the 120-strong audience.
On the actions of the Tory leadership, Cllr Endacott said: "I wouldn't run our group like that. It is up to each individual what they do. I turn up to any of political parties' meetings to see their point of view."
Some national polls have shown UKIP as level with the Liberal Democrats, as the third most popular party, and their support traditionally comes from those on the right of the Conservative party who are against the country's continued membership of the European Union.
Councillor Tom Bursnall, who organised the meeting, believes Cllr Burbage is now "running scared" and "paranoid" about UKIP's presence in the borough.
Cllr Bathurst added: "I don't think David is worried or paranoid. I think it is difficult for the party when people leave and it is an emotional issue."
Councillor Burbage declined to comment.
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Jul 20, 15:13
I went to hear Mr Farage and was impressed by his clarity of thought. What a pity our Tory council do not apparently believe in the freedom of debate and discouraged their members from attending !
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Jul 21, 07:07
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