Live updates

  1. National

Ukip 'defector' claims sacking was 'pre-emptive strike'

Former Conservative parliamentary candidate Mike Whitehead has claimed he was fired in a "pre-emptive strike" as the Tories knew he was about to join Ukip.

Whitehead, who announced his defection to Nigel Farage's party today, admitted he had already been removed as candidate for Hull West and Hessle but questioned the Tories' reasons for doing so.

Mike Whitehead has defected from the Conservatives to Ukip. Credit: Conservative Party/PA Wire

He claimed the party already knew he was outside the Conservative group on the local East Riding Council when he was selected as the parliamentary candidate.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "It's a bit odd, but I believe the reason they did that is because they knew I was standing up against the Tory group that was off side with the Conservative Party itself."

Of the email notifying him of his sacking last week, he said: "I got an email on Wednesday evening to say that if I did not stand aside from my intentions to stand in the local elections, they would remove my candidacy in West Hull and Hessle."

  1. National

Tories release extracts of email to 'sacked' candidate

Ukip "defector" Mike Whitehead was told last week that he would not be selected as a Conservative candidate at the General Election, according to correspondence seen by ITV News.

The Conservatives say the email extracts - which they say were sent on 1 April - counter the claim that Whitehead was due to stand for the party in Hull West and Hessle, a Labour-held seat in East Yorkshire.

According to the Conservatives, Whitehead was told he would not be selected after refusing to support a local Conservative council candidate.

As you are not on the approved list of candidates of Haltemprice and Howden Conservative Association you will not be selected by the Conservative Party to stand for any ward covered by the Association at the local elections.

As you have stated that you intend to stand in the local, election despite not having been selected for the Party, and despite Mrs Clarke asking you to agree to support whoever is properly selected by the Association to fight the Willerby and Kirkella ward, I am forced to act to protect the Party by refusing to agree to you being nominated to represent the Conservative Party at the 2015 General Election as candidate for Hull West and Hessle.

It is not feasible for me to allow someone to stand for the Party at a General Election who has announced an intention to stand against the Party at another election on the same day.

I am disappointed that this email has become necessary.

– Extract from Conservative Party email to Mike Whitehead

Advertisement

  1. National

Labour: Tory candidates 'know they cannot win majority'

The defection of a Conservative councillor to Ukip is a "huge blow for David Cameron's authority", Labour has said.

The party's shadow minister without portfolio, Jon Trickett, said the move showed even the Prime Minister's candidates "know he cannot win a majority".

"Ukip and the Tories increasingly share the same people as well as the same policies," he said.

"Both stand for increased health service privatisation, extreme spending plans which threaten the NHS and further tax breaks for those at the top."

“David Cameron will not rule out working with UKIP, but this is clearly what his party wants. David Cameron must now come clean and tell us what his plans are to do a deal with Nigel Farage and UKIP.”

  1. National

Ukip 'defector' had been sacked, Conservatives claim

The Conservatives say a parliamentary candidate who "defected" to Ukip had already been sacked.

A spokesman for the Tories dismissed Mike Whitehead's announcement as "cynical, misleading and utterly calculating to try and score political points".

"He refused to support the local Conservative council candidate and so we wrote to him last week to say that his position was untenable and he could not stand for us at the general election.

"We were already selecting a new candidate for this constituency."

Conservative candidate defects to Ukip

A Conservative Parliamentary candidate has defected to Ukip with just 30 days to go before the polls open.

Mike Whitehead defects from Conservatives to Ukip Credit: Conservative Party/PA Wire

Mike Whitehead is standing in Hull West and Hessle, a seat currently held by Labour's Alan Johnson. Ukip leader Nigel Farage described Mr Whitehead's defection as a hammer blow to the tories in the North of England.

Advertisement

  1. National

Farage: Defection 'hammer blow' to Tory northern hopes

Nigel Farage welcomed the defection of Mike Whitehead from the Conservatives. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

The defection of a Conservative parliamentary candidate to Ukip has dealt "another hammer blow to Tory pretensions in the north of England", Nigel Farage has said.

The Ukip leader said he was "delighted" to welcome Mike Whitehead - candidate for Hull West and Hessle - to the party, and said the move was proof "that today the real party of opposition to Labour in the north is Ukip".

Ukip MEP denies wrongdoing over expenses

A Ukip MEP has denied any wrongdoing over the use of her European Parliament allowances and expenses.

Jane Collins is the MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire Credit: Press Association

Jane Collins, the MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, has been accused of using taxpayers’ money to pay rental or running costs on offices owned by her partner Mike Kendall.

However, in a statement she says that she pays no rent on the office she shares with fellow MEP Mike Hookem.

The office sharing arrangement that Jane current has with her fellow Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire MEP, Mike Hookem, is designed to allow both MEPs to work together cohesively and to share a number of staff members in a convenient and cost effective way. The office space that Jane and Mike occupy is owned by Wallingfen Park Ltd, of which Jane’s partner Mike Kendall is a Director. Jane pays no rent on the office space in question; however, she does contribute to costs of utilities, telephones and other incidental expenses.

– Statement, Jane Collins MEP's office
Load more updates