Page last updated at 17:09 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 18:09 UK

UKIP candidate for Wells refusing to quit

Jake Baynes
Mr Baynes said standing down would be "a betrayal"

A UKIP candidate has refused to stand down to give the Conservative candidate a better chance of winning, despite being asked to by his party.

Jake Baynes said he had been asked to stand down in Wells, Somerset, to help Euro-sceptic David Heathcoat-Amory.

UKIP campaigns for the UK to withdraw from the European Union.

Mr Baynes said he disagreed with his party's leader who said it would not run for Westminster seats against other genuinely Euro-sceptic candidates.

UKIP leader Lord Pearson said Mr Baynes would not be forced to stand down.

Mr Baynes said: "To stand down would be a betrayal... it probably has ruffled a few feathers, but it'll be water off a duck's back at the end of the day."

Lord Pearson said: "There's a debate going on, there has been a disagreement yes, to some extent.

"I don't mind that, I'm not going to crack the whip and say 'OK then, don't stand and go away'."

'Muddle and confusion'

Mr Heathcoat-Amory said he did not believe the number of people voting for him would be affected by whether or not Mr Baynes stood for election.

He said: "It sounds as if UKIP are in their usual shape of muddle and confusion.

"I don't think it will make a great deal of difference to me.

"Everyone knows my stamp on Europe and if people want to establish our powers of self government only a Conservative government can do that."

Wells' Labour candidate Andy Merryfield, who is pro-Europe, said: "On a democratic basis, if he was selected appropriately then he should be standing.

"This really is an indicator of the pressure the Tories are putting on UKIP because they see David Heathcoat-Amory as very vulnerable in his seat."

Liberal Democrat candidate Tessa Munt said the party had been clear that it would give the public a choice on Europe through a referendum.

She added: "This is clearly a UKIP local party matter and my sense is that the local membership feels they have a good chance of taking a large number of votes. I applaud UKIP for being sensitive to the needs of local people."

Green Party candidate Chris Briton said his party did not want to join the Euro but would welcome the EU taking the lead on climate change.

"I'm surprised he was asked to stand down in favour of someone else. We believe you should vote for what you believe in," he said.

BNP candidate Richard Boyce said his party's policy would be to withdraw from the EU.

"I personally believe if UKIP were to stand they would split the Euro-sceptics,"

• The candidates announced so far for Wells are: UKIP: Jake Baynes; British National Party: Richard Boyce; Green Party: Chris Briton; Conservative: David Heathcoat-Amory; Labour: Andy Merryfield; Liberal Democrat: Tessa Munt.



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