A senior Ukip figure has defected to the Conservatives live on television, claiming the party had achieved its “principal objective.”
Party director Steve Stanbury, a key man behind-the-scenes of the anti-EU party, today revealed he was going back to the Tories - and urged other Ukip members to join him.
His announcement comes a day before Ukip holds its annual conference in Bournemouth, where the successor to Nigel Farage will be revealed on Friday afternoon.
Speaking this afternoon, Stanbury argued it is the “Conservative Party which is now better placed to deliver on Brexit”, and said: “Ukip’s principle objective was to secure a referendum.”
Stanbury added: “What we all need to do is deliver on Brexit and what I would say to many of my colleagues and friends in Ukip is come home, come back to the Conservative Party because that’s where and how we can deliver on Brexit.”
Stanbury contested the Forest of Dean seat for Ukip at the 2015 General Election, finishing third behind the Tories and Labour.
In 1997, he stood for the Conservatives in the South Yorkshire seat of Rother Valley, coming second behind Labour.
When asked to comment on Stanbury’s defection by HuffPost UK, a Ukip source replied: “Who?”
Ukip donor Arron Banks today claimed the party would be “dead in the water” if MEP Diane James was not elected as its new leader.