General Election in Peterborough: UKIP candidate steps down, indepedent to stand and Lib Dem changes party name
The UKIP candidate for the Peterborough constituency at the General Election has stepped down, while urging city voters to instead support the Brexit Party.
John Whitby, a former city councillor who stood for election to be MP at June's by-election, made his announcement this evening (Wednesday).
Mr Whitby said that while the election on December 12 was not just about Brexit, it was a "vital issue" and that he did not want to split the Leave vote.
instead, he is backing Mike Greene of the Brexit Party.
The other candidates at the election include Lisa Forbes (Labour), Paul Bristow (Conservative) and Joseph Wells (Green Party).
The Peterborough Telegraph can also reveal that an independent (Luke Ferguson) is standing, and an interview with him can be read in Thursday's paper.
Moreover, Liberal Democrat candidate Beki Sellick has revealed her candidate nomination paper has her down as standing for 'Liberal Democrats - To Stop Brexit', rather than just Liberal Democrat.
Mr Whitby said: "As UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for the Peterborough constituency I’ve obviously been very aware of the issues surrounding this General Election and have, over the last few weeks, been very carefully considering my position.
"My belief in UKIP’s values as put forward in our manifesto (which I suggest all people read!) are as strong as ever, but I also understand what is at stake in this election. It is not just about Brexit, but Brexit is obviously a vital issue as, until that is delivered in a form which is beneficial to the UK, then almost none of the other plans that Parliament or MPs may have can be effectively delivered.
"In my view, in an election as important as this one, it does not make sense to have multiple candidates standing on a very similar basic platform - this will split the vote and deliver, potentially, a disastrous outcome.
"I’ve therefore looked at the candidates and what they offer, along with the results from the recent by-election. What became clear to me, especially having taken the time to speak with him, is that Mike Greene standing for the Brexit Party really is offering an attractive alternative and one which I could happily support.
"Therefore, I have made the decision not to stand as a candidate in this election, but to lend my support to Mike’s campaign to become Peterborough’s next MP."
Mr Whitby said entrepreneur Mr Greene was "not a career politician", adding: "He is for Peterborough and he typifies what anyone would want to achieve, to move from challenging beginnings to being a very successful businessman."
He also called on Mr Bristow to stand down as a candidate.
Meanwhile, Ms Sellick described Brexit as a "national crisis" and said that unless the UK remains in the EU, the country will "lose the protection of workers' rights" and that it risks "a race to the bottom on food safety".
She added: "The by-election outcome was clear, the Lib Dems are effectively Peterborough’s only Remain party (the rest all lost their deposits). So I call on the 40 per cent plus Remainers of Peterborough to unite behind your “Liberal Democrats – To Stop Brexit” candidate and use your vote to gain another MP in the only credible national Remain party."
The Lib Dems have promised to stop Brexit if elected into government.