Election ’23 Statement – UKIP
Looking to challenge the status quo, UKIP candidate Gary Johnson wants to make his voice heard in West Berkshire.
The former Lib Dem councillor was mayor of Thatcham in 2014.
Mr Johnson, 72, moved to Thatcham in 1986.
He is the UKIP regional chairman for the south east region covering the Thames Valley, Hampshire and Essex.
“The Lib Dems preferred to stay in Europe and I am, and always have been, anti-European Union,” he said.
“We should be governed by us and not by Europe.”
Housing and immigration are just a couple of the issues on Mr Johnson’s mind and he’s ready to voice them in the council chamber, should he win a seat.
He says Thatcham residents – specifically young people who would otherwise leave the town – need new housing but strongly believes that greenfield land is not the place for it.
Modular homes on brownfield sites is his answer.
He said: “In my opinion we need housing but I don’t want it going onto greenfield sites.
“People don’t want houses on their doorstep they want green fields where they can walk their dog.
“But we need houses, we need houses that are affordable which is the most important thing.”
He said he is not against immigration but has concerns with the asylum seekers who are staying in the Regency Park hotel.
“Every adult in the area knows that Regency [hotel] is full,” he added.
“It won’t be long before it is a second hotel that needs to be occupied because the boats are still coming.
“We need a voice and that voice is going to be UKIP.”
Mr Johnson is also chairman of the Pound Lane action group and has fought to keep open playing spaces for young people to play football.
Mr Johnson made the move in 2014 to UKIP, which has been in existence for 30 years, and says the party is now looking to amalgamate with other independents.
He said: “Everybody that is anybody understands that the two party system nationally is not working.
“The Conservatives have let us down with the cost of living and various other steps they took in the wrong direction.
“A fear that many have is that Labour could be in power if there was a general election, so what we have decided to do as an independent party is amalgamate with all the other independent parties across the whole nation.”
He added: “We [UKIP] have had some really rough times and some really rough people.
“Nigel Farage was okay, a lot of people thought he should have stayed with us but Nigel Farage had his own interests and ambitions.
“We then had people like Tommy Robinson wanting to come get involved and many thought the party was too far right wing to be of interest.”
Mr Johnson said people would think of individuals walking the streets upsetting the community but said the party has “done away” with those individuals.
“We are centre right more than right wing,” he said.
“We want people to be happy knowing a political party is there for them not dictate to them.
“Let the people dictate to us, tell us how you feel.”
He added: “What does the future look like? I want to see all the independent parties coming together. We cannot be fractured.
“We have been here for 30 years, we are not disappearing, we are not going anywhere.
“We are here to support people, I do it day in day out.”