UKIP delays Boston and Skegness hustings to focus on Clacton by-election


UKIP has postponed a hustings event that will determine its General Election candidate for Boston and Skegness so that it can focus on the Clacton by-election.

The party was due to hold an event for members on September 11, followed by a vote to select their candidate.

However party bosses want no distractions from the October 9 by-election in Essex, in which they hope Douglas Carswell can win back his seat after defecting from the Conservative Party.

That victory would bring a first MP for UKIP - and looks possible after two polls oin the past week put the party ahead of their rivals.

Boston and Skegness branch chairman Robin Hunter-Clarke will be one of the party activists helping out with the party’s election push and says victory could have a knock-on effect to the campaign here.

He told The Standard: “I am going to be down there knocking on doors and doing all the important work to hopefully deliver the right result.

“If we do get that then it will be a complete game changer.”

Last week The Standard revealed that former Tory minister Neil Hamilton, UKIP’s deputy chairman, has applied to stand for the party. We also revealed that Paul Wooding has thrown his hat into the ring.

The rest of the shortlist of candidates is not known, and Mr Hunter-Clarke said it will not be made public as the race is a matter solely for party members.

He stressed, however, that the decision is not a ‘done deal’ - with Mr Hamilton not guaranteed to win just because of his high profile.

He added: “I want to make it absolutely clear that this decision will not be forced upon us. It will be a local decision, although it has to be approved by the party, as do all candidates.

“This not a foregone conclusion. This will be a democratic process in which members will vote.

“The branch will decide. It could be Neil or Paul Wooding or it could be anyone else who has applied. There has been a lot of application - a lot that you don’t know about.”

No new date has been set for the hustings, although it will take place soon after the October 9 by-election.