Representatives from Eastbourne and Pevensey branches of the UK Independence Party attended the national conference in Doncaster last week.
The conference coincided with the parliamentary debate on whether to launch air strikes in Iraq and the sudden resignation of MP Mark Reckless who defected from the Conservative Party to UKIP. Among those attending was former Conservative stalwart Bob Lacey who is now a prime mover in the UKIP organisation locally.
He said, “That we attended the national conference in an optimistic mood should surprise no one.
“We had come top of the poll in the Euro elections in the Eastbourne constituency and doubled, from two to four MEPS in the south east of England.
“In the closing session Nigel Farage was in the middle of presenting slides and statistics showing the sharp rise of the UKIP percentage share in both Labour and Conservative held seats when all of a sudden in marched Mark Reckless who immediately renounced his membership from the Conservatives.
“The atmosphere was electrifying. The 2,000 representatives leapt to their feet and applauded his brave and courageous decision.
“I have been attending conferences for many years but I have never seen anything like it. It was pure theatre and politics at its dramatic best.
“Time and time again Mr Reckless pointed out what Conservatives had promised yet failed to deliver – on immigration, grammar schools, the NHS, the national debt and Europe.
“The promises are still there but the action is not.
“Time and time again he stressed his determination to pursue those policies as a member of UKIP – it was meat and drinks to us all.”