THE former parliamentary candidate for the Eurosceptic party UKIP has joined the pro-European Liberal Democrats.
Richard Lowe, 28, of Brook Street, Chester, was forced to stand down as UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate last month as a result of his support for equal marriage for gay people.
Mr Lowe said the move, while potentially surprising to some, made sense in the context of concerns UKIP had with him, namely his support for immigration, his mild opposition to the European Union, and his belief that same-sex couples should be able to marry.
Mr Lowe, who previously represented the Conservatives in the City ward on Cheshire West and Chester Council until 2011, said: “Whilst I have spent time in two political parties prior to this move, I have decided to join the Liberal Democrats – returning to the party I first voted for.
“This I see as correcting the move I made when I defected to UKIP in 2011 – I looked long and hard at the Liberal Democrats, but eventually I made the wrong choice to join UKIP.”
“I feel more at home with the Lib Dems. As a councillor, I asked questions on CCTV, on homophobia in schools; I was the only Tory who backed the Yes2AV campaign. I was forced to resign as a UKIP PPC because I dared to support equal marriage and immigration. Positions like these are not allowed within UKIP.”
He added: “I implore all those who, like me, felt betrayed that UKIP didn’t provide sense of progress and weren’t, after all, a party that relished in free speech and liberal values, to leave, and to join me in the Liberal Democrats, where party policy is made by the members – not an elite clique.”