Merton conservatives in crisis as two senior councillors defect to UKIP


The former leader and deputy of the group resigned last week.

By Jacob Metcalf

The Conservative Group in Merton is in shock after four senior members dramatically resigned last week, with two joining UKIP.

At the annual Mayor Making meeting on Wednesday evening, Councillor Suzanne Evans, Councillor Richard Hilton, Councillor Rod Scott and Councillor Linda Scott resigned over claims of backstabbing and duplicity in the party.

Now Councillor Evans and Councillor Hilton said they have come to the conclusion that Merton residents would be better off with UKIP running the council.

“We have both spoken personally with Nigel Farage and are impressed with his plain speaking and common touch,” said Councillor Evans.

Their actions came after Oonagh Moulton was chosen as their third leader in three months after a leadership election last week.

“I am delighted to be elected Leader of Merton Conservative Group and to join with members across the Council at the Annual Meeting to welcome our new conservative mayor,” she said.

“I am extremely disappointed that after conciliatory discussions four colleagues have walked out and resigned from the Conservative Group in such a public and melodramatic manner for what appears to be selfish political ambition. It doesn’t deflect me or my Group.

Another member of the party, Councillor Chris Edge, was also suspended from the group after his involvement in standing against new mayor Krystal Miller.

Councillor Krystal Miller was set to become the newly elected Mayor of Merton unopposed until Councillor Evans put forward Councillor Edge.

“There’s no doubt he has the gravitas, the experience and perhaps most important of all, the moral fibre to be First Citizen of the Borough,” said Councillor Evans.

“His appointment as mayor is long overdue.

“Twice he’s had the mayoralty stripped from his grasp, thanks to a culture of back-stabbing and duplicity that some members of the current Conservative group appear to have adopted as their badge of honour.

“Now it’s proposed he becomes the sacrificial lamb slaughtered on the altar of Councillor Krystal Miller’s political ambition.”

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