UKIP has announced that it will not be standing for election in Clacton – the seat where it elected its first ever MP.

The list of people standing for election in the constituency has been published today.

The candidates are Colin Bennett (Ind), Kevin Bonavia (Lab), Andy Morgan (Ind), Callum Robertson (Lib Dem), Just-John Sexton (Monster Raving Loony Party), Chris Southall (Green) and Giles Watling (Con).

Despite Tory defector Douglas Carswell winning the seat for Ukip in 2014 and 2015, the party is not fielding a candidate.

Mr Carswell stood down at the 2017 election claiming it was “job done” for the party following the EU referendum.

Clacton Ukip chairman and district councillor Mary Newton said the party did not have anyone to stand in the election.

Paul Oakley unsuccessfully stood for Ukip in Clacton at the General Election in 2017, which was won by Conservative candidate Giles Watling.

Mr Oakley had been asked to stand again, but he quit as Ukip's General Secretary earlier this year over the party’s handling of remarks made about Labour MP Jess Philips.

He re-joined the Conservative Party last week after eight years and is backing Boris Johnson to get Brexit done.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

  • Paul Oakley pictured campaigning in Clacton in 2017.

Mr Oakley said: “Ukip has made some bad decisions – up until April it was polling up to 14 per cent.

“I wouldn’t have joined the Conservatives if Theresa May was still leader, but Boris Johnson is making all the right noises.

“Ukip has not got a chance of doing well in this election.

“Mary had previously asked me to be the candidate again – and I was very honoured that they asked.

“To be fair to Giles Watling, he has voted consistently for Brexit in the House of Commons.

“Last time Labour came second in Clacton and I wanted to avoid splitting the vote.

“There are some really decent people in Ukip, not least in the Clacton branch, but the party is close to death.

“We need to get Brexit, which we will, and we have to move on.”

Mrs Newton said Mr Oakley was the only potential parliamentary candidate that the constituency had.

“Basically, we haven’t got anyone else to stand,” she added.

“The gentleman who was going to stand has gone across to the Conservative for personal reasons.”

Mr Watling said he welcomed Mr Oakley back to the Conservative Party.

He added: “Paul was an honourable opponent at the last election and I’m glad that he’s seen that what we want to do is get Brexit done.”

Election candidate Andrew Morgan had changed his name by deed poll to Andrew Morgan Clacton-Brexitparty in a bid to ensure 'Brexit' remained on the ballot after the Brexit Party withdrew from the race.

But Mr Morgan will stand under his original name as an independent after being told the new name does not comply with election rules.

He said: “They have accepted my papers, but have said they don’t agree with my argument over the name.

“It was a bit of a waste of time, but I’ve made a point.”

Ian Davidson, acting returning officer for the Clacton constituency, said legal advice had been taken in relation to the acceptance or otherwise of nominations for the upcoming General Election.

“Although empowered as I am as acting returning officer, I felt it prudent to seek independent legal advice before making any decision; that advice was clear and unequivocal, and underpins my decision,” he said.