an elected mayor who resigned from his party earlier this week after voicing concerns over its links with the BNP and other far-right groups has flatly denied he made the move to improve his election chances.
Peter Davies was elected to run Doncaster Council in 2009 as an English Democrat, but the Yorkshire Post revealed on Monday that he had ended his membership because of worries over the party’s “current direction”.
A mayoral election is due in Doncaster in May, and Mr Davies’s Labour opponent Coun Ros Jones immediately criticised his move, claiming he was “trying to distance himself from his record” just weeks before the poll.
Coun Jones claimed the mayor had been a member of five political parties, called him “inept”, said he was “playing politics” and blamed him for the fact the Government had been forced to intervene in running of the authority.
But last night Mr Davies said he had made the decision “purely on principle” after becoming worried about former BNP members joining the English Democrats.
He rounded on Coun Jones’s criticism saying: “I have not been a member of five parties and I urge the people to beware of voting for someone who cannot count.
“I have promoted Doncaster as a tourist destination, and promoted the St Leger Festival which brings £15m a year into the town.
“I have invested in the town’s market and reopened the North Bridge to reduce traffic congestion. Is that inept?
“All Labour has given Doncaster in 35 years is corruption and infighting and that is what led to Government intervention.”
Mr Davies repeated his claim that he had “no intention” of joining any other party ahead of the mayoral election, and said he had received no approaches from party leaders to join them.