Burnley Conservatives appoint former UKIP and Brexit Party councillor as new leader
Former UKIP and Brexit Party councillor Alan Hosker has been chosen as the new leader of the Burnley Conservative group.
Coun. Hosker, who represents Hapton with Park ward on Burnley Borough Council, only joined the Conservative group in January after defecting from the Brexit Party, a month after the General Election in which Burnley appointed its first Tory MP.
He replaces ousted former Tory leader Coun. Andrew Newhouse, although the party has never revealed the reason behind his departure from that position.
Coun. Hosker, who runs his own taxi business in Padiham, won UKIP's first ever Lancashire County Council in 2017 when representing that party.
Coun. Hosker said: "I became involved in politics five years ago because the people of my area deserved a councillor who would work for them and I am known for campaigning to leave the European Union.
"The Conservatives delivered on Brexit and I'm delighted that the other councillors have elected me to be lead the group on Burnley Council. I'd like to thank Coun. Andrew Newhouse for his two terms as leader and I look forward to continuing to move the party forward in Burnley and Padiham."
The appointment was met with surprise from the leaders of other local parties on Burnley Council.
Labour group leader Coun. Mark Townsend said: “It is the final piece of the jigsaw of the old UKIP taking of Burnley Conservative Party.”
Former Burnley MP, Liberal Democrat Group leader, Coun. Gordon Birtwistle, said: “The old moderate Burnley Conservatives seem to have become a right-wing Tory group.”