UKIP’s latest town hall recruit is a slum landlord convicted for putting his tenants’ lives at risk. The residents of bedsits owned by Cllr Brian Silvester were forced into temporary accommodation last year after an inspection discovered they were at “imminent risk of serious personal injury”.
In a double prosecution by the fire service and his own council, Silvester (pictured centre above with new UKIP colleagues) pleaded guilty to 11 fire safety breaches, including holes in the ceiling and roof, inflammable material in corridors, loose wiring, broken smoke detectors and fire extinguishers which hadn’t been inspected for 20 years.
UKIP are claiming that Silvester “defected” from the Tories. The truth is that he resigned in disgrace in the wake of his conviction — just hours before a local Conservative Party committee was due to throw him out.
Fined £45,000 and ordered to pay £22,000 costs, Silvester narrowly escaped prison after magistrates referred the matter to the crown court for sentencing, saying the case “did not fall outside the custody threshold”. The court heard that one fire officer had claimed the bedsits:
“undoubtedly had the poorest standard of fire safety he’d ever seen in his 10 years of service”
Perhaps Silvester reckons he would have gotten away with it — if it weren’t for those damn EU safety regulations.