1. ITV Report

All three of Plymouth's UKIP councillors quit the party

Former UKIP councillors John Riley, Maddi Bridgeman and Chris Storer have joined the Conservatives. Credit: UKIP/Plymouth City Counci

All three UKIP Councillors on Plymouth City Council have quit the party to become Conservatives.

They've been running the Council in coalition with the Tories since 2016. Their decision now puts the Tories in overall control.

The leader of Plymouth City Council, Cllr Ian Bowyer says the decision by Councillors John Riley, Maddi Bridgeman, and Chris Storer to join the Conservative Party says it makes them 'all part of the blue team'.

I welcome the decision of Cllrs Riley, Bridgeman and Storer to join the Conservative Party.

John, Maddi, and Chris have made significant contributions to the running of the Council since 2014 and have represented the views of the residents of Honicknowle, Moor View, and Ham Wards very effectively.

However, they now accept the work of UKIP in Plymouth has been achieved with the outcome of the European Referendum when 60% of residents in Plymouth voted to leave the European Union.

All three Councillors are now looking to widen their contributions and feel this can best be done under the Conservative banner – we are now all in the blue team.

– Plymouth City Council Leader, Councillor Ian Bowyer

Cabinet Member John Riley is one of the three who has made the switch.

Being a Councillor representing Honicknowle Ward, and recently, a member of the Cabinet, has opened my eyes.

The job is challenging, there are no easy answers, but I have relished the opportunity to serve. All three of us have worked hard, learnt the ropes, and now have a lot more to offer.

I look forward to continuing this work as a representative of the Conservative Party.

– Former UKIP Councillor John Riley

Councillors John Riley, Maddi Bridgeman, and Chris Storer all won their seats on Plymouth City Council in the 2014 local elections. All three wards had previously been held by Labour. The party is now calling on the trio to resign, forcing a set of by-elections.

The changes put the Conservatives in overall control of Plymouth City Council. Credit: ITV West Country