EXCLUSIVE: Neil Hamilton applies to stand for UKIP in Boston and Skegness

Neil and Christine Hamilton
Neil and Christine Hamilton

Neil Hamilton has thrown his hat into the ring in a bid to become MP for Boston and Skegness.

The famous figure has applied to be selected to stand for UKIP at next May’s General Election.

Hamilton is deputy chairman of the party and visited the constituency last month with wife Christine, where he called for the area to be a ‘beacon’ for UKIP’s success in 2015.

The party is set to choose a shortlist of candidates from the applications, with a hustings event on September 11.

Hamilton, who served as a minister in John Major’s Tory Government, told The Standard: “I have put my application in. They’re getting together a shortlist and I hope to be on that.”

He added: “Several people in Boston and Skegness UKIP have asked me to put my hat into the ring. Dick Body, the former MP, was a great friend of mine. We were very close when I was an MP - I want to follow in the tradition that he set.”

The news comes as UKIP announce the high profile defection of Tory MP Douglas Carswell to the party.

The MP for Clacton has said he will stand down from his seat and fight a by-election to win it back for UKIP.

Hamilton told The Standard: “I think it is a very very significant event and a big decision to take to cut himself off.”

He said that, if Carswell wins the seat, he faces a lonely existence as the sole face of UKIP in the House of Commons but added: “On the other hand he will be a much more significant figure - he will be the voice of UKIP.

“He’s gone from a party on the way down to a party on the way up.”

Hamilton served as MP for Tatton – now Chancellor George Osborne’s seat – between 1983 and 1997, when he lost to campaigner Martin Bell. He had been Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry between 1992 and 1994.

See next week’s Standard for more from Neil Hamilton.