Eastbourne’s branch of the UK Independence Party says it has seen a massive rise in its membership since its recent success in the East Sussex County Council elections.
Even though the party failed to win a seat in any of the town’s nine wards, it came second in seven wards and did win seven seats across the county including success for candidate Mike Pursglove who ousted Tory Tony Freebody in Pevensey.
The party says that since then it has gone from strength to strength and its membership tally has increased from “low numbers” to triple figures.
Bob Lacey, who came second in his bid to win Devonshire for UKIP when he defected to the party after being a lifelong Conservative, said he was delighted at the party’s growing popularity.
“Membership for UKIP locally is growing exponentially,” said Mr Lacey, a former Conservative chairman of the council and long time friend of Margaret Thatcher.
“Because of the increase in interest we have set up three new branches in the town – West which includes Meads, Old Town and Ratton, Central to include Devonshire, Upperton and Hampden Park, and East for Langney, St Anthony’s and Sovereign. Things are looking extremely healthy for UKIP here in the town.
“Our people are real believers and are still interested and even more determined than ever. In addition five policy groups have been established locally covering education, employment, health, housing and tourism and UKIP members will be invited to submit proposals and ideas on how to improve Eastbourne’s neglected and dilapidated image.”
Mr Lacey said UKIP candidates wanted to thank voters who showed their support for them in the May elections. He said, “The results were significant in that our strong second place showing bodes well for the next local elections.”