A former UKIP candidate who is now set to run for the Social Democratic Party has defended his motives after they were questioned by UKIP’s Sheffield Council leader Jack Clarkson.
Steven Winstone told South Yorkshire Briefing: “If I wanted to be an MP I’d have stood for the Tories in Sheffield South East. There was an option to join the Tories, but when I looked it wasn’t for me”.
When the news broke on Friday of Mr Winstone’s decision to stand as the SDP candidate for Sheffield Hallam, along with a number of other UKIP members standing in Sheffield seats, Cllr Clarkson, said: “They’re people who came to us after they stood for other parties and are looking for a political home.
“They think it’s a quick fix, and can be a councillor or MP overnight. They should stick with the party and show people that you have to work for it, rather than flipping from one to the other”.
Mr Winstone, a 42-year-old businessman who left UKIP says that he would rather stand up for what he believes in rather than the easy option of standing for parties that offer him route into power.
“I have people like my friend Clarkson calling me a nomad. I think he knows me better than that,” Mr Winstone said.
UKIP changes resulted in the switch
Mr Winstone defended UKIP’s 2015 manifesto and refused to be drawn into the infighting that has plagued the party. He said that he is now standing for the SDP because the UKIP has changed. “As the Tories started to take UKIP’s stance over UKIP moved,” he said.
Despite the SDP being associated with pro-European stances and is understood to have its modern incarnation within the Liberal Democrats, Mr Winstone said that the vote to merge with the Liberals was a “stitch-up” to members of the SDP.
Highlighting that the SDP continued on a very small scale, albeit without no parliamentary representation, he defends the ideological soundness of the UKIP-to-SDP switch.
Mr Winstone says that the SDP is Eurosceptic, pro-liberal direct democracy and believes in a degree of libertarianism for business and individuals.
“The ‘d’ in democracy isn’t to be ruled by European parliamentarians or people who have been placed by,” Mr Winstone said.
“The Liberal Democrats are very pro-EU and aren’t very democratic for that reason”.
He continued to defend his defection: “I think nowadays people don’t look at the left and the right, they look at it as a bit of a compass.
“UKIP was on the right economically, on the left a little bit socially, and then to the south in terms of libertarianism.
“Now UKIP have a one-in-one-out policy and as an economist I couldn’t stack up,” said Mr Winstone who highlighted the declining birth rate of the country which he says could lead to negative equity and a declining economy.
He says that the party have a fully costed manifesto, with a fair points based immigration system, a complete reform to the school day and a new model for universities abroad.
Mr Winstone told SYB that there’s no split in UKIP, that he likes current leader Paul Nuttall and respects Nigel Farage’s decision to not stand in the election so he can continue to fight for Brexit.
“This is me doing things I believe in” he said.
Labour members welcome
Predicting turmoil for the Labour Party after the General Election, he says that the party is a potential home for Labour members and MPs.
“It’s a natural home for the centre ground,” the Sheffield Hallam candidate says.
Believing that Jeremy Corbyn will cling onto power if he loses the next election, Mr Winstone says: “People think that the state should get involved in schooling and in health but really shouldn’t overburden enterprise [and the SDP is the party for them]”.