Mike Whitehead Conservative to UKIP defector website
Mike Whitehead, councillor for Hull West & Hessle, left the Conservatives for Ukip on 6 April.Mike Whitehead

With just 30 days to go before the UK general election, the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Labour stronghold Hull West and Hessel has defected to Ukip.

Currently a Conservative member of the East Riding Council, Mike Whitehead said that he was "disgusted" with the "behaviour of the ruling group".

The Conservatives have reacted by saying that Whitehead had been dismissed from his position as a Tory candidate in the general election for Yorkshire constituency last week.

"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," a spokesman for the leading party said.

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

Intimidation and bullying

Whitehead said he had grown increasingly concerned about the behaviour of his party since 2011 after seven councillors from Haltemprice and Howden resigned, citing bullying and intimidation by the ruling group has progressively worsened.

"In my opinion the behaviour of the ruling group has only gotten worse since then," said Whitehead.

"Now that same group have managed to gain control of the local party structures by ensuring that they are responsible for the organisation of the local election campaign.

"However the Conservative Party at national level has 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."

The UKIP leader, Nigel Farage has welcomed the defection and hailed his UKIP as the "real party of opposition to Labour in the north" and "another hammer blow to Tory pretensions in the north of England".

Ukip MEP Jane Collins said Whitehead will be standing for Ukip in the local elections.