A LONG-SERVING Labour councillor who left the party in 2009 has publicly backed UKIP, claiming it is best placed to deliver essential improvements to his town.

Alderman George Gray, an independent member of Great Aycliffe Town Council in County Durham, said the UK Independence Party was the only party with the motivation to achieve results instead of making “empty promises”.

Alderman Grey was a member of the Labour party for 40 years but became disillusioned and left in 2009.

He has not joined UKIP but stands by the comments he made in a letter to the Newton News, a free community newspaper delivered to homes across Newton Aycliffe.

In the letter, Alderman Gray accused the town’s Labour councillors of fighting for new housing instead of a new school on the former Elmfield Primary School site in the town’s west ward.

The west ward councillor highlighted nine new schools which have been built across County Durham in recent years.

He went on to describe Newton Aycliffe as a “lost town,” before adding: “I believe that UKIP would be the perfect party to bring these essential improvements to the table and drive forward these types of initiatives that can only benefit and serve to improve the day-to-day lives of the hard working residents of Newton Aycliffe, both young and elderly.

“There have been many promises made along the way by various parties but I firmly believe UKIP are best placed and best motivated to deliver positive results rather than making empty promises.”

Alderman Gray, a former member of Sedgefield Borough Council, has served on the town council for 25 years and has been mayor three times

He told The Northern Echo he had not joined UKIP but was interested in its policies.

“I am an independent councillor and I like that I can help whoever I like and vote the way I like,” he added.

Councillor Bob Fleming, the Labour leader of Great Aycliffe Town Council, said Elmfield Primary School had closed due to a lack of pupils.

He said a new school would most likely be built in the east of the town, as this was where the majority of sites earmarked for housing are located.

“This is not a political decision,” he said. “I don’t think UKIP would have much impact on local politics “It is a national party and I think a lot of people vote for them as an alternative to the major parties, a protest vote so to speak.”