UKIP candidate numbers drop in Yorkshire

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The number of UK Independence Party candidates contesting the General Election in Yorkshire will be significantly smaller than it was two years ago.

The party fought all 54 seats in the region in 2015 but as nominations closed last night Ukip looked set to field 33 candidates compared to the Greens’ 35.

Despite not contesting every seat, the party has chosen to put forward candidates against Conservatives who backed leaving the European Union last year.

Nigel Adams and Andrew Percy, who are defending Selby and Ainsty and Brigg and Goole for the Conservatives respectively, both campaigned for a Leave vote but will face Ukip opponents.

David Ward was confirmed as an independent candidate in Bradford East, the seat where he was an MP until 2015, having been dismissed as the Liberal Democrat candidate by leader Tim Farron last month.

Former Respect party leader Salma Yaqoob will stand in Bradford West which is being defended by Labour’s Naz Shah. Ms Shah won the seat two years ago by defeating Respect’s George Galloway.

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) and the Communist Party have both decided not to field candidates to help Labour.

The Greens have chosen not to contest some seats to help Labour’s chances but are also putting forward former leader Natalie Bennett in Sheffield Central which is currently held by Labour’s Paul Blomfield. The Yorkshire Party announced it is contesting 21 of the region’s 54 seats.

Leader Stewart Arnold said: “To have 21 candidates in place with such short notice is an outstanding effort.

“The Yorkshire Party has a very diverse, talented group of candidates. Our youngest candidate is 19 which will probably make him the youngest candidate of any party in Yorkshire. The average age of our candidates is about 35.

“Around 20 per cent of our candidates are LGBT and we have proportionally more women than before. I believe we have a strong team that goes a long way to represent the diversity of Yorkshire.

“Our candidates range from students, teachers, carers, businesspeople, retirees amongst others. They all bring different skills and experiences to the campaign.”