BRITAIN is leaving the European Union – and so the UK Independence Party has seemingly got what it wants.

But a troubled year for the party has seen it gripped by power struggles at the top and its only MP quit in March.

Yet Dickie Bird, chairman of its Oxfordshire branch, says it is now refocussing efforts on a host of local issues.

He warned the public they should be wary of giving the Conservatives a big vote of confidence: "They may see that as a mandate to do whatever they want without referring decisions back to the people."

And he said every UKIP councillor elected would send a signal that the Government would be 'held to account on Brexit'.

Mr Bird said: "It should be doing what the nation wants but there are already signs it is trying to backslide."

The party still has plenty to offer people in Oxfordshire, he says, despite 215,035 people in the county supporting Remain last June – compared to 163,574 who supported Leave.

"The referendum was a national vote," he says. Locally, the party is campaigning on a host of issues.

It wants to put planning decisions in the hands of communities, give priority to military veterans and local people for social housing, promote grammar schools, reduce costs for small businesses, repair the county's roads and give people a say on major decisions with local referendums. It is also campaigning for more parking to be provided at Oxford's hospitals and for it to be free.

Mr Bird said: "I am a big fan of referendums. They are a great way of giving ordinary people a say in major decisions.

"At the moment many people feel very far away from mainstream politicians but everyone feels involved if you hold a referendum."

He said Oxfordshire also needed more housing, but that new developments needed to have schools, health clinics and shops to serve local people from day one.

He said: "It needs to be there when the first family moves in. And priority for social housing that is getting built also needs to be given to local people, especially veterans.

"Like many others, I want my children and grandchildren to be able to live in Oxfordshire – but if we don't take action they won't be able to."

The party is fielding candidates in 11 divisions, far less than in 2013, but Mr Bird said this would allow it to 'focus resources'.