Two leading Berkshire Conservative councillors have quit their party and joined UKIP following George Osborne’s Budget. Cat and Tom Bursnall, husband and wife councillors in Windsor, have issued a joint statement where they accused the Government of being ‘no longer the party that trumps meritocracy over political gesture’.

Cat Bursnall, who was Britain’s youngest Civic Mayor last year, has been a member of the Conservative Party since 2006. Her husband Tom joined the Tories in 1996. 

The Bursnalls, pictured right, said: “UKIP is now the natural home for those aspirational folk who want a party that seeks to remove state interference from everyday life, lower the tax burden for everyone, and restore our country as a competitive player in the global arena.”

UKIP leader Nigel Farage, said: “I am delighted to welcome Mr & Mrs Bursnall to the UKIP ranks. Such high calibre and talented politicians people are testament to the growing potency of UKIP as a political force.”

The full statement from the Cat and Tom Bursnall read:

After a combined 22 years of loyal service, and having pushed more leaflets through more doors than we wish to remember, it is with some regret that we have this evening decided to leave the Conservative Party and join UKIP.

The budget was the last nail in the coffin. The Conservative party is no longer the party for the aspirational ‘go getter’; no longer the moral crusader for a lower taxed nation; and no longer the party that trumps meritocracy over political gesture.

Osborne has always claimed that cutting the 50p tax band was financial calculation, based on whether it would generate enough money to offset the damage to the UK’s reputation.  The party we joined in 1996 and 2006 would not have even mentioned any financial consideration; they would have sought to lower the tax based on moral virtue alone, in which no government should ever seek to take more than half of someone’s hard earned money.

Basing tax decisions on financial implications and not moral ground means socialism has already won the argument; for raising even the basic rate of tax will yield more revenue, but it does not make it right.  This is a party that now shuns Laffer curve economics, ignores economic lessons of the past, and a party, even within the coalition, that no longer makes a moral argument for lowering taxes.

We realise it is a coalition government – but it is less the actions that have disturbed us than the supposed arguments behind them.

When Cameron threatened us earlier this year with enforced quotas for women in the boardroom, something that never happened under Blair or indeed Brown, then you know the party has embraced the idea of ‘positive’ discrimination – meddling into privately owned businesses for the sake of gesture politics.  That is not a party we wish to be a part of.

As joint owners of a small business, we want to belong to a party that promotes success, and does not seek to curtail aspiration in the name of illusory ‘fairness’.  The top 10% of earners in the UK already shoulder close to 60% of all income tax revenue, a figure already grossly disproportionate.  The actions taken today will increase that burden on those people that have perhaps risked everything to start a business, worked all the hours God sent them, and now they are doing well, seeks to punish them .

Of course we wish to withdraw from the EU, as do most grass roots members, for £50m a day contribution to the EU has to be the worst return on investment ever seen in business or politics.  However, that is more a supplementary reason for joining UKIP – a party that the media can no longer proclaim a single issue party.

Those urging us to stay in the party, proclaiming to “influence from within” are well intentioned but unfortunately unrealistic – they too must realise the party is now run by a small clique at the top that rarely listens to even its own members of parliament.

UKIP is now the natural home for those aspirational folk who want a party that seeks to remove state interference from everyday life, lower the tax burden for everyone, and restore our country as a competitive player in the global arena.

On a local council level, the Windsor and Maidenhead Conservatives remain very sound, believing in cutting taxes for residents without cutting frontline services.  We will continue to work with them at a council level.