Former Tory parliamentary candidate Mike Whitehead has joined Ukip, following a dispute with the local Conservative group in his Yorkshire constituency.
Until last week, Whitehead was standing for the Conservative party in Hull West and Hessle, but was reportedly “sacked” for not supporting the party's local council candidate.
"This man is not our candidate for Hull West & Hessle. He was sacked last week,” said a spokesman for the party.
"He refused to support the local Conservative council candidate - and so we wrote to him last week to say that his position was untenable and could not stand for us at the general election. We were already selecting a new candidate for this constituency.”
Whitehead claims he was increasingly concerned about the behaviour of the Conservatives in East Yorkshire, saying the activities of its “secretive” council needed to be made more transparent. In 2011, seven councillors resigned from Haltemprice and Howden, citing intimidation and bullying as their reasons for doing so.
“In my opinion, the behaviour of the ruling group has only gotten worse since then. Now, that same group have managed to gain control of the local party structures by ensuring they are responsible for the organisation of the local election campaign,” Whitehead said.
He will not stand for Ukip in the constituency right away, since the party has already selected a candidate. He will, however, stand in the local elections on the same day.
The move is a sign of growing support for Ukip among some members of the Conservative party, and Ukip leader Nigel Farage described it as “another hammer blow to Tory pretensions in the Northrop of England”.
“I am delighted to be welcoming Mike to the party at this exciting time," he said. “His move to Ukip just underlines that today the real party of opposition to Labour in the north is Ukip."