THE leader of the UKIP group on Thurrock Council has been charged with drink driving after a late night incident at a fundraising function attended by national party leader Nigel Farage and MEP Tim Aker.
Cllr Robert Ray was arrested in the early hours of last Friday morning after a dinner at the Orsett Hall Hotel reports The Thurrock Enquirer.
A statement by Essex police said: “A man has been charged with drink driving after being arrested at Orsett. Robert Ray, 65, of Purfleet Road, Aveley, was stopped by officers at Orsett Hall at 2.15am on Friday, 13 June. He has been bailed and will appear at Basildon Magistrates Court on 1 July.
The event at Orsett Hall was a £55 a head fundraiser for UKIP organised by the Thurrock branch of UKIP, which is supporting Mr Aker in his quest to ‘double up’ as a Westminster MP after his success in the recent East of England European elections. He has been nominated as the party’s candidate for the Borough seat.
It is understood that Mr Farage and Mr Aker had left the function well before its close and that Mr Ray was leaving the scene himself in the early hours with his wife, and fellow councillor, Maggie O’Keefe-Ray happened. Cllr O’Keefe-Ray, 62, was a recent winner in the local government elections for Thurrock Council, winning a seat to serve Aveley and Uplands, which her husband also represents.
Cllr O’Keefe-Ray, who suffers from a thyroid condition, blacked out, falling and striking and cutting her head. Fellow party-goers alerted emergency services and when police arrived Mr Ray was arrested in charge of his car.
Mrs O’Keefe-Ray was taken to Basildon Hospital by ambulance and was treated and later released.
“It was all very unfortunate and we are feeling very embarrassed,” Cllr Mrs O’Keefe told the Enquirer.