Three Rutland county councillors have joined the UK Independence Party, known as UKIP, at a meeting with party leader Nigel Farage.
Coun Richard Gale, Coun David Richardson and Coun Nick Wainwright are members of Rutland Anti-Corruption Group however they will now represent UKIP on the council.
In a statement, the group said: “UKIP is the obvious choice as it supports the same ideals as ourselves; those of honesty, integrity, openness and transparency, along with upholding the fundamental principles of democracy.
“UKIP also does not impose a whip, thus allowing councillors to exercise their own judgement and vote in line with the wishes of their electorate.
“We believe, as does UKIP, that local government has to be returned to the people and must no longer rest with the bureaucrats, working too closely with council leaderships, bureaucrats who do nothing but use the tools of burdensome bureaucracy, created by them, to suit nothing more than their own agendas and interests and most certainly not those of the people.”
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “I am delighted to welcome such doughty campaigners into our ever expanding group of local government representatives. I have known Dave Richardson for a long time now and am pleased he feels that the fight against vested interested will be best served by joining UKIP.”
Rutland Anti-Corruption Group formed after members raised concerns in the way Rutland County Council was being run.
In January, the council voted to take legal action against the group over allegations they had made. Councillors voted to seek an injunction to prevent harassment of the council’s chief executive and other officers by the group, to support staff wishing to take legal action in their own name for harassment by the group, to introduce a single point of contact through the council’s internal e-mail and to authorise sufficient funds to support these actions.
Councillors agreed to defer a decision on taking other action including suing for defamation. Legal experts are preparing the council’s case for an injunction.
East Midlands UKIP MEP Derek Clark also welcomed the move. He said: “Their stand on integrity and transparency is exactly what we expect of our councillors.
“We look forward to their continued efforts to work on behalf of local people and ensure their money is to be spent as they would wish.”