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LID DEM TEST VALLEY MEMBER STANDS AS UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY CANDIDATE IN BY-ELECTION

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Hilary Armstrong, the local government minister, has described as a 'farce' the situation in Romsey, where a UK Ind...
Hilary Armstrong, the local government minister, has described as a 'farce' the situation in Romsey, where a UK Independence Party candidate for the parliamentary by-election has remained a Liberal Democrat member of Test Valley BC.

The Independent (p8) reports that Garry Rankin-Moore, the UKIP candidate at next month's by-election, has quit the national Liberal Democrats but has not resigned from the party group on the council. The Lib Dems' official candidate is bidding to overturn a Tory majority of 8,500.

Mr Rankin-Moore resigned from the national party because of its pro-European stance, but has claimed he has no quarrel with his local Lib Dem colleagues.

Mark Cooper, the leader of the Lib Dem group on the council, has failed to take action against the UKIP candidate, claiming that his anti-European views have been known for a long time. But he said Mr Rankin-Moore's position will be reviewed later this month.

Ms Armstrong said: 'When is a Liberal Democrat not a Liberal Democrat? When they are a UKIP candidate. It's like some bizarre joke. This is a man who sits on the same council group as the Liberal Democrats and is now standing for a party with diametrically opposed views on Europe.'

A Liberal Democrat spokesman in London said the party could not intervene in the affair and was bound by law not to dictate to the council group. 'It's a matter for the council group to sort out. It is up to the council group to decide who is on their group,' he said.

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