A FORMER Labour councillor and high profile press officer has announced his defection to UKIP.

Richard Bingley, who served as a councillor for Tilbury St Chads between 2006 and 2010, was also head of Labour’s East of England and London media operations during Tony Blair’s second and third terms as Prime Minister and played a prominent role in Gordon Brown’s 2010 election campaign.

Now a business leader and senior lecturer, Mr Bingley said he decided to support UKIP because he felt Labour had abandoned working class people.

He said: “I have joined UKIP to help promote their values of democracy and fairness and also to endorse a general sense of pride and celebration in being British.

“I will miss some friends and former colleagues in the Labour Party, but I do have to accept the rather inconvenient truth, that UKIP is now the only credible political representation for hardworking, aspirational British families.

“For many years Labour has dogmatically abandoned hard working British people to promote a terrifyingly irresponsible ‘something-for-nothing’ culture.

“This has suffocated enterprise and society’s ability to convey positive messages around the value of hard work and achievement by merit.”

He added his experience of the party was that it had a diverse membership and flatly rejected the accusation it was racist.

He said: “People have asked me if UKIP is racist or full of bigots.

“Evidence from the campaigns that I have seen suggests that nothing could be further from the truth.

“My experience is that UKIP is overwhelmingly made up of decent, hard-working, open-minded people from all ethnicities and backgrounds, who are coming together to develop a positive pathway out of the mess that the three other main parties have left this country in.

“I would not touch UKIP with the proverbial bargepole if the organisation in any way condoned discrimination.”