A Liberal Democrat councillor has defected to the UK Independence Party after national president Tim Farron allegedly interfered in the selection of a parliamentary candidate.
Cllr Ian Jones, who is a member of Truro City Council, said that Farron rang him up and asked him to back Simon Rix for the selection as prospective parliamentary candidate for the Truro and Falmouth Constituency.
Speaking to the Western Morning News, Cllr Jones said: “I had a call from Tim Farron asking me to vote for Simon Rix and so did other party members.
“I was surprised that the party president would phone up and be involved in a local election for a prospective parliamentary candidate.
“It’s supposed to be beyond reproach and it wasn’t.”
Mr Jones said he supported rival candidate Rob Nolan, who is a former mayor of Truro. The vote ended up tied and the candidates drew lots to decide the winner. Mr Rix emerged triumphant.
“It all smelt ratty and I said we needed to appeal against it. When we could not fix it I resigned and joined UKIP,” said Cllr Jones.
Gawain Towler, UKIP’s South West candidate for the European elections told Breitbart London: “I’m delighted to welcome Cllr Jones to the UKIP family. To have the support of somebody with such a commitment to the local community is a testament to UKIP locally.”
Mr Rix, described as an “old friend” of Tim Farron, had previously stood for election as the party’s candidate for Croydon South in the 2010 General Election.
Cllr Jones added: “It feels as though Truro and Falmouth have been lumbered with somebody they didn’t want because the national party felt it was the right thing to do.”
The Truro and Falmouth constituency is currently held by Conservative Sarah Newton MP, who won the newly-created seat in 2010. She has a majority of just 435 over the Liberal Democrats, making the seat a key Lib Dem target at the next election.