A Ukip councillor has quit the party complaining that he has been sidelined and “trampled on” after being effectively relegated in his bid for the Clacton by-election to make way for a Tory defector.
Farmer Roger Lord, 57, was ousted by Douglas Carswell, who had left the Conservative party and his position as Clacton MP to be chosen as the primary Ukip candidate in the triggered by-election.
Mr Lord, who previously expressed annoyance that he had already formed a campaign team and would continue on in his bid, has now also stepped down from his role as County Councillor for Brightlingsea.
Last month, Mr Lord said the announcement that Mr Carswell would run under Ukip was a “complete surprise” to him and that the former Tory should have been more ‘courteous’ in ringing him up to alert him before the news broke.
He had also said that he would push on with the fight and ‘rip the throat out’ of the establishment.
Ukip’s rising stars
Ukip’s rising stars
1/7 Suzanne Evans
A Tory defector who has only been in the party for a year. She was rapidly appointed national communities spokesman. A former BBC reporter who now runs a PR agency, she has won plaudits within the party for her confidence in front of the camera.
2/7 Steven Woolfe
A barrister from Manchester whose father was mixed-race and mother was white. He was invited to become financial services spokesman before he had even joined Ukip. Now an MEP, his ethnicity and northern upbringing are in strong contrast to the Ukip stereotype.
3/7 Margot Parker
A local businesswoman who impressed Ukip’s hierarchy with her spirited campaign in the Corby and East Northants by-election 18 months ago. She was elected as an MEP for the East Midlands last week. She has a no-nonsense style which party chiefs believe will be persuasive on the national stage.
4/7 Patrick O’Flynn
A former Daily Express journalist who became Ukip’s director of communications and was a strategist behind the Euro-elections campaign. An experienced performer on television who is close to Mr Farage. With his media background he could become a culture spokesman.
5/7 Amjid Bashir
A restaurateur of Pakistani lineage who is one three Ukip MEPs representing Yorkshire and the Humber and currently speaks for the party on small business. After his election he said: “Here I am... of Asian birth, of Asian parentage, Muslim, and I have been selected by this so-called racist party. It disproves that completely.”
6/7 Louise Bours
Until her combative appearance alongside Piers Morgan and Joey Barton on Question Time last Thursday, she was one of Ukip’s lesser-known faces. The new MEP for the north-west is a former actress whose full name is Louise van de Bours. Her northern credentials could come in handy in wooing Labour-leaning voters.
7/7 Paul Nuttall
Long serving activist from Merseyside who became Ukip’s chairman in 2008 and deputy leader two years later. He is a key weapon in the party’s attempts to broaden its appeal to working-class voters in the North of England.
He has since changed his mind, however, and has warned the Euroceptic party that it risks alienating its long-standing members.
Mr Lord, who has reportedly known Nigel Farage since 1997, said: “There are loads of good people within Ukip who have worked hard for a long time and deserve to be shown a degree of respect.
“If the leadership continues to demean those people and sweep candidates aside, it could backfire.
“I may well be just the first of many to be trampled on in this way. Voters certainly won't be impressed by people being moved around like chess pieces.”
A Ukip spokesperson had previously said that more Tory MPs would defect like Mr Carswell and that the party was in discussions with five to 10 Labour MPs about them doing similar.
“Only about a quarter of our members are former Tories and certainly in Clacton I have recruited many liberals,” Mr Lord said.
“Those people would be extremely reluctant to vote for somebody with such right wing views.
“There is no guarantee that voters will follow Mr Carswell to Ukip - he may find that they kick back against that assumption.”
Another Ukip spokesperson had said that Mr Lord was not the Ukip candidate for the by-election.
The by-election is scheduled to take place on 9 October, with a landslide win for Ukip considered likely following two polls putting them 44 points and 32 points in the lead ahead of the Tories.