Yorkshire’s UKIP MEPs speak of their shock at Bashir’s defection

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THE UK Independence Party’s remaining Yorkshire Euro-MPs spoke of their shock this morning at the decision of former colleague Amjad Bashir to defect to the Conservatives.

Mr Bashir was one of three Ukip candidates elected to represent Yorkshire in Brussels last May when the party emerged as the clear winners in the region’s European elections.

Jane Collins and Mike Hookem were also elected as Ukip took half of Yorkshire’s six seats in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Ms Collins told The Yorkshire Post: “Since Mr Bashir became an MEP we have not had a lot to do with him or seen him very much. I am not sure what has happened.

“Regarding myself and Mike Hookem, they have have got two solid people. We will not be defecting, we will not let them down and we will continue to work hard for them.”

Mr Hookem added: “It has come as quite a surprise. It’s a shock.

“The reports I’ve been getting from branches and the membership is that he’s not been seen for quite a while within the region. We saw him now and again in the [European] parliament.

“So it has come as a bit of a blow but we pick ourselves up and we carry on.

“Jane and myself are still working hard for the region and we will carry on.”

Yorkshire businessman and major Ukip donor Paul Sykes who largely funded the party’s highly successful campaign which saw Mr Bashir elected to the European Parliament last May declined to comment.

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