A CONTROVERSIAL councillor says he is set to rejoin Ukip, 18 months after he sensationally quit the party and blasted it as “shallow”.

Independent Hampshire county councillor Tony Hooke says he has submitted an application form to rejoin the party following talks with Ukip’s Eastleigh representative Andrew Moore last week.

The Andover South representative, who lambasted the party following his resignation in February 2015, says he expects to be granted his membership in the coming days.

Cllr Hooke, whose seat will be up for election in 2017, says the move is in response to rumours that current Test Valley Borough Council leader, councillor Ian Carr, will resign at the end of this year.

Cllr Carr said there was no truth to the claims.

He said: “With rumours circulating that Ian Carr will be standing down as leader of TVBC and our MP Kit Malthouse becoming less and less present I feel there is a huge lack of civic leadership in the town.

“That is part of the reason Andover got into such a mess in the first place when compared to other Hampshire towns.

“I want to provide a proper opposition and personally I think the only way to do this is through Ukip.”

Cllr Hooke also added fuel to speculation that he could be made leader of Ukip Hampshire once he rejoins the party.

The Andover businessman said he would consider taking the role, which has been vacant since former leader Chris Wood defected to the Conservative party earlier this month.

Cllr Carr said: “It doesn’t surprise me that he has rejoined Ukip. There are all sorts of rumours going around but I won’t be standing down at the end of this year.

“I’m ready for another bout of nastiness from him. I’m just going to ignore him and let him do his own thing.”

Former Ukip North West Hampshire chairman Daniel Emmerson has also raised concerns over Cllr Hooke’s return to the party.

He added: “He is not the type of individual that Ukip needs.”

Cllr Hooke said he did not want to be drawn on Mr Emmerson’s comments.