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Basingstoke UKIP councillor Stephen West did send resignation email
UKIP’S only Basingstoke councillor, who was caught up in a row over whether he quit the party, did in fact email his resignation, it has emerged.
But despite the evidence showing what he did, Councillor Stephen West, UKIP ward member for Tadley Central, still maintains he never actually left the party.
A widely circulated email, seen by The Gazette, shows that Cllr West emailed party bosses on September 19, at 11.55am, to ask them to accept his resignation.
The email, addressed to Hampshire UKIP group leader Ray Finch, and UKIP South East regional organiser Steve Harris, said: “Can you please accept my resignation from the party and forward this email to Head Office so that my membership can be cancelled.”
As reported in last Thurs-day’s Gazette, right, details of Cllr West’s resignation request, which came almost a year after he defected from the Tory party to UKIP, emerged 11 days later when they were confirmed by UKIP Basingstoke chairman Alan Stone, and John Bentham, chairman of Cllr West’s North West Hampshire branch.
However, hours after the story was reported by The Gazette, on basingstokegazette.co.uk/news, Cllr West “categorically denied” ever resigning from the party, and branded the allegations as a “smear campaign” against him.
This week, Cllr West has maintained his stance that he did not resign. Referring to the resignation email, he said: “That was dealt with the same day. It never went any further. Anybody who has made anything more of it is making mischief.
“I would have issued a press release – that didn’t happen. I would have tweeted it – that didn’t happen.
“Yes there was an internal email, yes it was resolved, and no, effectively I didn’t resign from the party. Yes, there was an intent, but it never actually happened.”
When questioned as to why the two branch chairman were under the impression he had left the party, weeks after the issue was supposedly resolved, Cllr West said he did not know.
He said: “I don’t know what had gone on and what discussions were had because I had not seen or had any conversations with them at the time, because I had been out of town occupied with business-related stuff. It had not been on my radar...I thought it had been resolved.”
Despite the row, Cllr West said he remains a UKIP councillor and is on good terms with local UKIP branch chairmen.
He added: “It’s business as usual at least for me, and business as usual for me and Alan (Stone) and John (Bentham).”
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