A contender who pulled out of the race to become UKIP’s candidate in Boston and Skegness has quit the party and is considering standing in 2015 as an independent.
Paul Wooding withdrew from the selection process before UKIP’s hustings on November 13. Former Tory minister Neil Hamilton had already pulled out of the race before the night.
Mr Wooding said the process showed no ‘ethics, honesty, principle and integrity’, showing ‘utter contempt’ for voters and feels it was fixed for Mr Hunter-Clarke to win.
He said he has quit the party after a period of ‘soul searching’, adding: “The real losers are the ordinary people of Boston & Skegness. Nothing will change with their everyday lives and it will be business as usual.
“The narrow minded agenda of having the youngest candidate to stand in the 2015 General Election will backfire in my opinion.”
He believes Mr Hunter-Clarke had access to information from the candidates which gave him an unfair advantage. He says he pulled out because he felt he was ‘going into a gunfight armed with a knife’ and added: “I do not feel as though I have lost an honest contest, as for one to lose, one must enter the contest in the first place.”
He added: “Nothing was learned from the Conservative Open Primary whereby the general public’s feeling was that they did not want, and did not choose, a career politician, a councillor or a media magnet. They chose an ordinary worker (Matt Warman).”
Mr Hunter-Clarke told The Standard that Mr Wooding’s views were ‘sour grapes’.
He said: “He was on the shortlist and decided he wanted to withdraw from the shortlist. It was a democratic process.
“The membership voted for me and the National Executive had to get together to approve it. It took a week but it took a week in Great Yarmouth, it’s not unsual.”
He added: “After a democratic process if somebody is elected the other candidates should stand aside and say ‘congratulations’.”
Mr Wooding said: “He appears not to live in the same world as the majority of the voters there and I firmly believe that UKIP could well have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Boston and Skegness in May 2015.”
In the New Year he plans to canvass Standard readers for their views ahead of a possible bid to run himself.
Mr Wooding is currently based in Kent but has family in the Skegness area and had said he would move to the constituency if election.
The Royal Mail driver had vowed to work with food manufacturing and agricultural firms to raise the cash needed to fund a bypass, estimated by him to be £250 million.
For a full interview with Mr Hunter-Clarke see this Wednesday’s Standard.