The former deputy leader and leader of the Merton Conservatives have confirmed they will be joining UKIP.

Four Conservative councillors shocked Merton's council chamber by resigning from their party at the annual Mayor Making meeting on Wednesday (May 15) over claims of "backstabbing and duplicity" in the party, with Coun Evans announcing her intention to form a new group.

Conservative councillor Chris Edge was later suspended from the group over his involvement in standing against Councillor Krystal Miller for the Mayoralty, after he was nominated by Coun Evans. 

Their resignations came after the group elected Councillor Oonagh Moulton as their third leader in as many months after Coun Hilton called a leadership election.

In a statement received this morning, Coun Evans said: "Richard and I have made the decision to join UKIP.

"Hearing reports about the disdain expressed by a senior Conservative to hard-working local politicians and activists such as ourselves perhaps sped the decision up; to be labelled a 'mad, swivel-eyed loon' really was the final straw.

"As you know, we have both spoken personally with Nigel Farage and are impressed with his plain speaking and 'common touch.'

"We've also had chance to explore UKIP's ideas in more detail and have come to the firm conclusion that Merton residents would be far better off were UKIP running the council."

Wimbledon Times: Councillor Suzanne Evans, for Hillside

Coun Suzanne Evans said Merton Council could cut council tax by up to 20 per cent

She added: "UKIP's ideas on local government issues mirror those that Richard and I have espoused time and time again: let's cut Council executives and managers not front line services; build a new Grammar school in the borough; funnel money that is currently being spent on the EU into local services instead; and give real decision making powers to local communities.

"And our own commitment to low Council Tax - we know a cut of 15-20% is possible - more police on the streets and a 'local homes for local people' policy fit easily into UKIP's policies on tax, crime and immigration.

"As UKIP Councillors, there is one more good piece of news for our residents in Lower Morden and Hillside: UKIP do not operate a whip system and so we are each free from the shackles of this archaic system which we know members of the public do not like, do not want, and do not trust.

"We are free from now on to be answerable only to our residents who have always been our first priority.

"We see this a great opportunity for a fresh start and a new approach to local politics.

"We intend to work in coalition with the other four who have left the group." 

Are you a resident in Hillside or Lower Morden? How do you feel about your councillors' decision? Email: or call 020 8722 6336.