Election 2017

UKIP candidate defects over 'extremism and racism'

Tim Matthews Image copyright Devon Live
Image caption Tim Matthews has said racism and extremism within UKIP 'is not morally or politically acceptable'

A UKIP candidate announced he was defecting to the Tories before votes were counted due to "racism and extremism" in his own party.

Tim Matthews, who is standing in Devon Central, has released a letter claiming UKIP leaders "opted for division rather than discussion".

He said UKIP was once "a libertarian party campaigning for Brexit" but "it has veered into extremism and racism".

The election result in Devon Central has not yet been announced.

Mr Matthews said he had now joined the Conservative Party and thanked those who voted for him.

He said UKIP leadership failed to listen to the membership and added: "No wonder its members have drifted away."

There are seven candidates in total standing in Devon Central, which is currently held by Conservative Mel Stride.