Row erupts over defection to Ukip of East Riding Tory Mike Whitehead

Tory Mike Whitehead has defected to Ukip.
Tory Mike Whitehead has defected to Ukip.
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A HULL Conservative parliamentary candidate who defected to Ukip has claimed he was fired by the Tories in a “pre-emptive strike”.

Ukip announced last night that Mike Whitehead had defected but the Tories said he was sacked last week as the candidate for Hull West and Hessle.

Tory Mike Whitehead has defected to Ukip.

Tory Mike Whitehead has defected to Ukip.

Nigel Farage described the news as “another hammer blow to Tory pretensions in the north of England” but a Conservative Party spokesman dismissed Ukip’s announcement as “cynical, misleading and utterly calculating to try and score political points”.

He added: “This man is not our candidate for Hull West and Hessle. He was sacked last week.

“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 he could not stand for us at the General Election.”

Mr Whitehead, a councillor on East Riding Council, has now admitted that he was informed last Wednesday that his candidacy would be removed if he did not stand aside from running in the local elections.

He said: “The Conservative Party took a pre-emptive strike because they knew it was coming. I got an email on Wednesday evening to say that if I did not stand aside from my intentions to stand in the local elections, they would remove my candidacy in West Hull and Hessle.”

Mr Farage said Ukip was the “real party of opposition” to Labour in the North.