Harrogate’s UKIP candidate for the next General Election stood down this week in a surprise move, admitting he had become ‘an embarrassment’ to his party.
John Upex, who has also resigned as the Harrogate chairman of UKIP, contested the last general election in the town for UKIP. His resignation, which he claimed was by mutual consent, followed an exchange of letters with Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.
In one letter he told Mr Jones: “I understand the test for what we call Down’s Syndrome is not feasible until the third month (of pregnancy) and as the God-Father of a Down’s boy I cannot but endorse the termination of those few children with that condition.”
He also wrote that if there was a blood letting in this country, “there are a lot of people who are candidates for my supply of piano wire.”
Mr Upex insists his remarks were taken out of context, but admitted his letters to the MP had played a part in him resigning.
A statement from UKIP’s Harrogate and Knaresborough Association this week said it had accepted the resignation of its chairman John Upex following a difference of opinion of views and policies.
The statement added: “In addition, Mr Upex will stand down as the Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the 2015 general election. We would like to thank John for his contribution over the last few years which has allowed UKIP to grow and prosper in this region.”
Harrogate county councillor David Simister, who won the first of two UKIP seats on North Yorkshire County Council last May immediately announced he would put his name forward for selection as the UKIP candidate for the Harrogate and Knaresborough seat.
He said the selection process would be concluded by April.
Meanwhile, Mr Upex said he had decided to move on after recognising he had become an embarrassment: “The situation has changed. Ten years ago we used to be a collection of individuals with common purpose on getting out of Europe.
“Now we are a credible political party, and the people running it are midfield players. The game has moved on and it’s not appropriate for a shin-hacker like me to be on the field. I’m not going to create ructions for the organisation. We need someone now who is a smooth operator.”
With a general election just over a year away, the Lib Dems announced their Prospective Parliamentary Candidate in December as Helen Flynn from Nidderdale.