Boris Johnson's former deputy drops party membership for Ukip

Catherine Neilan
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Ukip: Growing in political strength (Source: Getty)
Yesterday Boris Johnson said Tory defectors to Ukip were “utterly nuts”. But perhaps he shouldn't have spoken so soon because it turns out his former right-hand-man Richard Barnes has done just that.
The former deputy mayor of London has today emerged as the latest party unfaithful, ditching his party membership in favour of the anti-immigration group.
Barnes told the Evening Standard: “Our borders are massively porous. Immigration is a good idea, but it has to bring a benefit to our economic, social and cultural life.
“It cannot be to take advantage of the NHS or to exploit the benefits system. At the moment it’s a mess. We don’t count people in, or count them out. That would be a good place to start.”
His disillusionment also came through failings over the UK's position within the EU, the high speed rail network HS2 and the possible Heathrow expansion.
Barnes was London Assembly for Ealing and Hillingdon from 2000 to 2012 and is a former Hillingdon councillor.
He told the newspaper he may eventually seek elected office for his new party, though most likely not in the House of Commons.
Barnes added:
There seems to be a detachment from ordinary people’s lives in the Westminster Village. The parties just don’t seem to relate and talk the language of normal people.

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