Brexit Party candidate pulls out of North East Cambridgeshire after leader's announcement over Tory held seats
Brexit Party candidate Paul Bullen has pulled out of the race to be North East Cambridgeshire's new MP after leader Nigel Farage announced they would not fight Tory held seats.
Monday's announcement by Mr Farage has angered Mr Bullen who said the first he knew about the decision to step aside in seats with a Conservative majority was "the same time as everybody else".
He said there was no consultation or prior warning about Mr Farage's decision, made allegedly after he was offered a peerage by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a secret meeting between the two party leaders, that sealed an unofficial pact between them.
In fact he claimed more than half of candidates only found at noon on Monday when Mr Farage made his decision public.
Mr Bullen said the move has left him "disillusioned with party politics" as well as out of pocket financially.
All would-be Brexit Party candidates had to pay £100 up front to be assessed as suitable to stand and those who were now barred from standing in seats like North East Cambridgeshire would not get that money back.
Mr Bullen said: "I have a garage full of election campaign material, that I have paid for out of my own pocket, but is now useless to me."
The former RAF officer and father of three grown-up sons has been involved in local politics for a number of years and was UKIP group leader of Cambridgeshire County Council.
He is hoping to put that experience to good use by now standing as an independent candidate in the neighbouring Huntingdon constituency taking on incumbent Tory Jonathan Djanogly.
Mr Bullen said: "Standing-in defence of Brexit in Huntingdon, a 54.2 per cent leave constituency, three years after the referendum, should not be happening. However, following the procrastination of our previous government and its failure to secure our exit from the European Union, the poorly-judged decision by our current PM to stand remain-supporting Djanogly as the local candidate yet again, is an insult to the local electorate, who voted to leave. Whilst my standing for the Brexit Party has been terminated by Mr Farage's decision to enter into an unofficial pact with the Tory Party in the hope of securing a stronger leave majority in parliament, it is noted that remain MPs such as Mr Djanogly will continue to frustrate and paralyse Brexit."
Mr Bullen said other displaced Brexit Party candidates would be supporting his campaign.
He said: "We have pooled our resources as it is hard to stand as independent and hopefully I can get elected and send a message."
Mr Bullen said he was disappointed not to be fighting for the North East Cambs seat but said he was standing in Huntingdon as that is where he lives and is "well-known".
He concluded: "I was prepared to move to Fenland if I had been elected and we had started to look at properties. Nigel Farage's decision has finally made me lose faith in party politics in this country. The only way to make a change is to start standing as independents."
* The closing date for those wishing to stand in North East Cambridgeshire is 4pm tomorrow (Thursday) information on how to put your name forward can be found here.