Forum strengthens grip on Mansfield council as UKIP duo jump ship

Mansfield Civic Centre, home of Mansfield District Council.
Mansfield Civic Centre, home of Mansfield District Council.

The Mansfield Independent Forum political group has strengthened its control of Mansfield District Council after two councillors crossed the floor to join them.

Councillor Barry Answer, member for Abbott, and Coun Sid Walker, member for Newlands, have left UKIP to join the forum – leaving UKIP unrepresented on the authority.

The council was previously held by the forum thanks to a coalition with the UKIP members, but now it has an overall majority itself

For Coun Answer, it is a return to a group he was first elected to represent in 2003 and which he led for two terms, before switching to UKIP to press the case for leaving the EU.

Coun Answer, portfolio holder for housing and a member of Mansfield mayor and form membmer Kate Allsop’s cabinet since his election in 2015, said: “Now the decision has been made to leave the EU I feel UKIP has done its job and I can return to my true roots and importantly once again put people before politics.

“It’s clear there is a fresh momentum being driven by Mrs Allsop to take Mansfield forward and I am looking forward to working with the forum.”

Coun Walker said was also elected for UKIP in 2015.

He said: “Being part of the Coalition administration under Mrs Allsop, I have seen first-hand the value of simple, common sense, and practical politics working for the benefit of my ward, and UKIP has done its job on leaving the EU.”

Mrs Allsop said she was “delighted to have two committed community councillors joining the forum”.

The switch means the forum now holds a majority with 18 of the 36 councillors, plus Mrs Allsop’s deciding vote. There are 17 Labour councillors and one Conservative – Coun Stephen Harvey, who represents Kingswalk.