By using this website, you agree to our use of cookies to enhance your experience.

The UKIP candidate who was challenging Tory housing minister Brandon Lewis at next year's general election is standing down to fight allegations of electoral fraud.

Matthew Smith - who is already a UKIP county councillor in Norfolk - is to go on trial in January in a case relating to the county council elections in May of last year.

Smith, who describes himself on his Twitter profile as a handsome devil, used to be a senior Conservative activist in the Great Yarmouth constituency and worked with Brandon Lewis in the 2010 general election, when Lewis took the seat from Labour.,

Smith was himself selected in May 2013 by UKIP to fight the seat in the 2015 poll and told the local press I do fancy my chances. Victory is not beyond the realms of possibility.

But in his speech standing down, Smith said: I will continue to fight this case knowing that I am innocent of all charges and I have been thankful for the continuing support given by you....I believe that I owe it to the branch to step down to ensure we can democratically select a local branch candidate in due course, who is free from such distractions and to best ensure our victory.

However, the demise of Smith's campaign does not mean victory will be plain sailing for the housing minister next year. UKIP holds the balance of power on Great Yarmouth council and the seat is one of eight held by Tories and believed to be targeted by UKIP.


MovePal MovePal MovePal