Cllr Mike Baker, a Conservative Party member and a District Councillor with something of a complicated political affiliation, has defected to UKIP.
Sitting as a Councillor on North Norfolk District Council for the Town of Holt, Cllr Baker has stood at various times as a Conservative, and in bad years for the Tories as an independent, but on each occasion he has stood as an independent, he has subsequently affiliated himself with the Tory group on the council, his seat counts as a Tory seat for committee places and he is, according to the Eastern Daily Press, a card carrying Tory.
Some loss to the Tories then ?
Councillor Baker has something of a chequered history in North Norfolk. His dealings with fellow councillors has, in my experience on the council, been one which does little to endear him. Indeed, in private some of the harshest comments I heard about Councillor Baker came from Conservative councillors who had, in my opinion, little time for his manners or attitude.
In recent years Councillor Baker has sat a twelve month suspension imposed by the Standards Board who gave this strong sanction because of ignoring advice from officers and breaking rules at a planning meeting that was dealing with an application from one of his own businesses. It's more complicated than that, but it certainly gave a bad impression.
So there will be many Tories in North Norfolk who will, in my opinion, be pleased to see the back of him from their party.
There is though one downside for the Tories. The fact that a councillor has left their group and their party after what were pretty awful election results for them in North Norfolk this year further emphasises the dominance the Liberal Democrats now have in North Norfolk politics and is a blow to the Tories chance of any revival. In 2003 their council group stood at 16 councillors with 28 Liberal Democrats. Now, they again have 16 councillors with the Liberal Democrats on 30 councillors. If they cannot even retain members of their group, then they have real problems.