A BOROUGH-based MEP, who has represented UKIP since 2004, has quit the party in protest at leader Nigel Farage’s “totalitarian” leadership.
Former deputy leader Mike Nattrass, who has been involved in a legal row with the party hierarchy over his deselection as a candidate at next year’s European elections, claimed only “cronies” of Mr Farage were being picked to stand.
The eurosceptic, whose local offices are in Fentham Road, Hampton-in-Arden, told Channel 4 News: “The process has been totally gerrymandered and fixed.
Mr Nattrass added: “I belong to a party that now is totalitarian and it will not let the voter speak, because not only have they decided who will stand, they have also decided that the party members who should have a free vote will not get a free vote.”
Mr Farage is an “excellent frontman” but a “very bad leader”, said Mr Nattrass, who could stand as an independent next year.
“He only wants people in the party who absolutely and totally agree with him, so I’m regarded as a troublemaker.”
A UKIP spokesman said the party was only made aware of Mr Nattrass’s intention to resign because of his television interview.
He said: “I understand his disappointment at not being in the UKIP lists for the forthcoming election, but the shortlist was decided by a fair and comprehensive process and UKIP now has very many talented people coming forward, wishing to represent us.
“Mr Nattrass took his grievances over the selection process to the High Court and lost. His Honour Judge Perle QC ruled that not only was the UKIP selection process fair but it was designed to be fair.”
UKIP announced earlier this year that it planned to stand candidates in every one of Solihull Council’s 17 wards at next year’s local elections.