Leading Waveney UKIP activist Simon Tobin resigns to concentrate on career annd embark on ‘new political project’

Simon Tobin.

Simon Tobin. - Credit: Nick Butcher

He has 'lived, dreamed and slept UKIP', having stood as a parliamentary and police and crime commissioner candidate.

But just days after attending a party fund-raiser and being pictured pumping iron in the gym wearing a purple UKIP t-shirt, the party's most prominent activist in Waveney has quit the organisation he has devoted the last three-and-a-half years of his life to.

Former Southwold mayor Simon Tobin - previously a Conservative district councillor for six years - joined UKIP in 2013, later saying he was 'really refreshed by the good, solid values the party was offering'.

The self-confessed Winston Churchill fanatic then led the party's Waveney branch, serving as chairman and constituency co-ordinator for the Vote Leave campaign in this year's European Union referendum.

UKIP's share of the vote in the 2015 general election increased by 9.3 per cent during his candidacy and he helped Vote Leave win 63 per cent in the EU referendum.

He also become famous locally for driving round in a London-style taxi emblazoned with the purple UKIP livery. But in a shock move on Tuesday (October 11), Mr Tobin told branch members he would not only be taking a step back as an activist but resign his membership altogether.

Asked why he had quit, he said: 'I've decided to concentrate on my career in heavy construction for the time being. I'm very, very happy to have represented UKIP and leave in a position of very high regard for them. I'm pleased to report that Waveney UKIP is in absolutely superb condition. I've worked with the branch in preparing for the 2017 council elections, which I believe will be quite successful for UKIP.=

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'Nationally I believe the party will settle down and has a tremendous opportunity going forward.'

Mr Tobin attended UKIP's conference in Bournemouth last month, at which Diane James was elected leader. He supported rival Lisa Duffy but Mrs James quit within days, sparking a new leadership race - with one potential candidate reportedly coming to blows with a fellow UKIP MEP.

Asked whether he was in any way dissatisfied with the party nationally or locally, Mr Tobin replied that he wasn't and said: 'It is simply that I'm stepping away from politics at the time being and I'm doing that because that's how I feel. I've been very proud and have enjoyed every moment of being a member of Waveney UKIP and have worked with some fantastic people.'

However he added: 'I'm not walking away from politics completely' and said that he 'may embark on a new political project in the future'.

Asked whether he would consider rejoining UKIP in the future, Mr Tobin said his intention was to focus on his new political project - but was not currently able to reveal more about that.

However, he said he would not be joining another political party and thanked everyone who had supported him at UKIP.

Jenny Hinton, secretary of the UKIP Waveney branch, said: 'He will be sorely missed, but he's trying to establish a new business venture.'

She added that he was a 'great ambassador' for the party and that the door would very much be open for him to rejoin in the future. 'He's lived, dreamed and slept UKIP. He's a UKIP man,' she said. 'He's always thrown himself in 100 per cent.'

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