A FORMER councillor who migrated to Britain in the 70s has joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Harjinder Singh Sehmi – who sat on the Labour benches at Coventry City Council between 2010 and 2014 – made the switch to UKIP because he believes there is a need to restrict the number of people settling in the UK.
The 60-year-old became a British citizen a few years after arriving from India and lives in Foleshill with his family.
Speaking to the Observer, he said: “Border control is a very important issue at the moment. There are too many guests from Europe and we could be risking overcrowding. We need to stop so many people coming and control the borders more strictly.
“I am a British citizen and very proud to be British. In the 37 years I have been here I have worked for all in the community to further this country in one way or another.
“Some people say UKIP is a racist party but I don’t see how. I have joined, how can they be racist? They are accepting of all British people and I am pleased with that.”
The dad-of-four migrated from India in 1977 to marry his wife who had moved to the UK several years before.
During his stint on the council representing the Cheylesmore ward he made the shortlist for the title of ‘community champion’ in the Local Government Information Unit’s national councillor awards.
He aims to take an active role in local organisations and is currently general secretary at the Ramgharia Sikh Temple in Foleshill.
He also has political ambitions and will seek to stand as a UKIP candidate in the city at next year’s General Election.
Mark Taylor, Chair of Coventry UKIP, said Harjinder’s switch to the party had not surprised him.
He added: “The membership I see is very mixed. It’s been very interesting to see what has happened in the last two years with people coming to UKIP from all backgrounds.
“Some maybe coming from immigrant families who themselves want to control immigration. People simply want some process to be sorted to put in a degree of control.”