The Brexit Party has withdrawn its candidate for the Melton seat at next month’s General Election in line with leader Nigel Farage’s new pledge not to compete in constituencies won by the Tories at the last polls in 2017.
Jim Bennett had already been campaigning for votes and said he was ‘disappointed’ not to be able to stand following Mr Farage’s surprise annoucement yesterday (Monday).
His withdrawal leaves just four candidates battling for the Rutland and Melton seat at the election on December 12.
Mr Bennett told the Melton Times: “I have spent some weeks now campaigning in the area and I am disappointed not to have the opportunity to compete for the seat in this beautiful constituency.
“I would very much like to thank the people of Rutland and Melton who, in general, have been welcoming and prepared to talk about our hopes for the region.”
The Conservatives had a 23,000 majority at the last ballot but a new MP is set to be elected after Sir Alan Duncan decided not to stand again after serving 27 years in the role.
Mr Farage says the decision not to field candidates in Tory-held seats was a ploy to prevent some anti-Brexit candidates being elected and potentially helping to delay or prevent the UK leaving the EU.
Mr Bennett added: “I am sure that the Conservative candidate, Alicia Kearns, will continue to hold the seat for the Conservative Party, and I wish her well for the election and for the future.
“I’d also like to thank my very small but loyal team of Phil, Richard, Sheila, Dave and Alison for all their support and the press for their interest in our campaign.”
Contenders for the Rutland and Melton seat, are Alastair McQuillan (Green Party), Alicia Kearns (Conservative), Andy Thomas (Labour) and Dr Carol Weaver (Liberal Democrats).