THE leader of political group the For Darwen Party has announced it has folded.

Stephen Potter said the party was ‘no longer sustainable’ due to diminishing membership numbers.

Mr Potter and the rest of the party’s members will seek to form the Darwen branch of UKIP, capitalising on the party’s success at last month’s elections.

The For Darwen Party was launched in 2007 by businessman and former LibDem Tony Melia and was instrumental in the setting up of Darwen Town Council.

It also helped to oust the Labour-led Blackburn with Darwen Council when it entered into a coalition with the Conservatives and LibDems to take control. But a number of defections led to the party’s downfall and ultimately it lost all its seats on both the borough and town councils in 2012.

Former Earcroft town councillor Mr Potter, of Birch Hall Avenue, said: “It is sad that we have had to call time on the party and I would like to thank everyone who was involved in it over the years for their hard work and dedication.”

He said he had looked at a number of options before deciding to join UKIP.

“We looked at various parties and we have been in contact with UKIP for quite a while now. It is growing in Darwen. We will be putting candidates up in every ward in both the borough and town council elections and I reckon we could steal quite a few seats.”

Mr Potter said he would be attending a meeting next week of the Rossendale and Darwen branch of UKIP taking place in the town.

He is not yet a member of the party.

He said: “The response from the people of Darwen to UKIP has been good and it is not going to be a flash in the pan.”

Mr Melia said: “It is sad to see For Darwen go but it has achieved what it set out to achieve, which was a council for Darwen and to bring new things into the town.

“When you look at Darwen now compared to before the For Darwen Party, it is thriving. But I can’t say I am surprised the party is folding, although UKIP would not have been my personal choice.”