Former councillor Graham Jesty to stand again after switching sides to UKIP

Cllr Graham Jesty is pushing to have Green Park Avenue, Horbury, resurfaced, to make it easier and safer for parents to drop off and pick up their children from a nearby school.'w8124b211

Cllr Graham Jesty is pushing to have Green Park Avenue, Horbury, resurfaced, to make it easier and safer for parents to drop off and pick up their children from a nearby school.'w8124b211

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Former councillor Graham Jesty will fight to take back his seat after swithcing allegiances and becoming a member of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Mr Jesty was elected into the Horbury and South Ossett ward as a Conservative councillor in 2008, but quit the party in January 2011.

He then stood as an independent councillor for a year but was voted out in last year’s elections.

Mr Jesty, who founded the Horbury and South Ossett Senior Citizens Action Group, said he hoped he could take back his seat in next year’s election with the help of UKIP’s backing.

He said: “As an independent I didn’t have the necessary party backing. But I will stand next year for Horbury and South Ossett.

“I think we need a complete change of direction now as far as local and national government is concerned. We’ve had 18 years of Labour that has created this mess and now three years of the Conservatives which has started to really affect the poorest.”

Mr Jesty claims he quit the Conservative party because he didn’t think it was doing enough to challenge the Labour-controlled Wakefield Council on “overspending”.

He said he felt they had spent too much on the Hepworth gallery and on Horbury High School, now Horbury Academy.

And he said his focus at the next election would be to push for repairs to roads in Horbury and Ossett.

He said: “I’ll be looking at the things that haven’t been done since I left. The roads are in a terrible state, some of them are falling to pieces.”

UKIP’s core policy is that Britain should leave the EU, and Mr Jesty said he strongly believed that people should be offered a referendum on Britain’s EU membership before the next general election.

Nathan Garbutt, chairman of UKIP Wakefield District, said: “We are delighted to welcome Graham to the party, he has worked very hard for the community and is well respected in Wakefield.”

Coun Janet Holmes, of the same ward, said Mr Jesty should “make his mind up” about his party of choice.

She said: “He’ll be after the Lib Dems next.

“I’m fuming that he’s joining UKIP though. He shouldn’t be doing it because it is one of the most far-right parties.

“The school really needed investment and we cut the costs as much as we could. We’ve ended up with one of the best schools in the district.

“And the three councillors have done all they can to push for road repairs. There isn’t the money at the moment and there’s nothing Mr Jesty can do about that.”