The sacked Tory Candidate for Hull West & Hessle, Mike Whitehead, has defected to UKIP saying he is “disgusted” by the “wilful refusal” of the Conservative Party nationally to intervene in his bust up with his local party. Nigel Farage described the defection as “another hammer blow” to Tory hopes in the north of England.
Commenting on his defection, Cllr Whitehead said: “I have been increasingly worried about the behaviour of the controlling group of Tories since 2011, when seven Conservative Councillors from Haltemprice & Howden resigned, citing bullying and intimidation. 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. I am deeply disappointed in the Conservative Party at national level, who have declined to get involved in what it sees as a remote internal squabble out in the shires.”
“The total power of ‘single party control’ without effective opposition is never a good situation as we have seen from recent events elsewhere in Yorkshire. I could not in good conscience continue supporting the local Conservative Party when they are obsessed with going down the same road.”
He claimed he was joining UKIP because it would enable him to “speak up” for important issues in his area. He said: “I will be able to speak up for the residents and represent their views on the council. I also hope that with the election of other UKIP Councillors, I can help open this secretive council up, make it more transparent and work better for the residents.”
“I also want to ensure that the Council works more closely in a strategic capacity with other agencies including, Hull City Council and Humberside Police amongst others. It is important that we remove ‘petty fiefdoms’ and ensure this region is not left behind when greater resources are devolved by the next Government.”
The Conservative Culture Secretary Sajid Javid denied Mr Whitehead had defected from the party. He told the BBC: “The gentleman involved was not a Conservative candidate… He was up until last week but he was sacked and so it’s not a defection.”
Whitehead said Tory high command had fired him when they got wind he was going to defect.