A FORMER Hartlepool councillor has been appointed vice-chairman of a national political party.
Stephen Allison, who represented the St Hilda ward in Hartlepool for eight years, has been appointed vice chairman of the national UK Independence Party (UKIP).
The 50-year-old, who is married to Sandra, 49, a chiropodist, served as a councillor for Hartlepool Borough Council before losing his seat at the elections in May last year.
The dad-of-two had given his backing to Professor Tim Congdon in UKIP’s recent leadership contest, which was won by Nigel Farage MEP, but he said his appointment as vice-chair shows there are no divisions in the party.
Speaking at a meeting of UKIP’s Hartlepool branch, Mr Allison, a self-employed business advisor based in Hartlepool, added that he was grateful to be given the opportunity to contribute on a national level.
Mr Allison, who lives in Hurworth Burn, added: “I am delighted to accept the position of vice chairman of the UK Independence Party.
“I was a supporter of Prof Tim Congdon in the recent party leadership contest. But I think my appointment as vice-chairman shows how the party is coming together as a united force under Nigel Farage as leader and Steve Crowther as executive chairman.
“UKIP’s message that the UK must withdraw from the EU is being listened to more and more.”
He had previously held the position of UKIP campaigns director between 2004 and 2008 and he was also the North East regional organiser for the party until 2009.
He was elected to the party’s National Executive Committee in August last year.
UKIP executive chairman Steve Crowther said: “I am very pleased that Stephen has agreed to join the new team which is taking the party forward.
“We’re in a period of rapid growth, with a huge increase in the number of people supporting our cause.
“We need people of Stephen’s calibre to make sure we capitalise on the huge opportunities ahead.”