10/09/2014 11:53 BST | Updated 10/09/2014 11:59 BST

Ukip Campaign To Recruit Canterbury Tories Backfires After Party Forgets To Pay Postage

A bid by Ukip to try to woo rival politicians in Kent backfired - after the party failed to pay enough postage on letters it sent encouraging them to defect.

Some members of Canterbury City Council received cards via the Royal Mail saying letters with not enough stamps on them were being held.

Conservative councillor Darren Ellis was one of those who paid £1.20 to the collect the letter, and he "burst out laughing" when he found out it was from Ukip.

Darren Ellis had to pay to receive his approach by Ukip, which he said made him 'burst out laughing'

The letter, headed "In Confidence", went on to invite him to get in touch as Ukip starts assembling its team of candidates on the city council next May.

Mr Ellis said: "I got home from work and had a card from the Royal Mail saying that the sender hadn't paid enough postage, and I would have to pay £1.20.

"I thought it might be from a local resident so I paid the £1.20, opened it up and it was from Ukip's local chairman asking if I would join them for the next election."

He added: "I just burst out laughing. I wouldn't consider joining Ukip in a million years. Their views are far to the right of any that I have.


Ex-Conservative David Hirst, now Ukip's leader on the city council, said it was "standard practice" to send such letters, but admitted volunteers had failed to pay enough postage.

He said: "We did cock it up because the volunteers that sent the letters out were living in the past and didn't put a big enough stamp on them.

"For that we apologise but volunteers are volunteers."

He said the local Ukip party had received "sufficient interest" from opposition councillors about joining the party.