BATLEY & SPEN election hopeful Aleks Lukic has quit UKIP in order to stand as an independent Brexit candidate.
The 27-year-old Heckmondwike Grammar School teacher, who was chairman of UKIP’s Dewsbury, Batley and Spen branch, has pledged to fight for lower taxes, more local school places and a fully-resourced NHS after leaving the party that campaigned for Britain to leave the European Union.
It is believed that Mr Lukic lost confidence in UKIP’s national leadership, with leader Paul Nuttall refusing to announce if and where he will stand in the snap general election.
Mr Lukic left the party following a meeting on Wednesday night.
It is expected that UKIP will field candidates in well under half of the seats across the country.
Mr Lukic said: “It is regrettable to be parting ways with some fantastic, inspirational colleagues after we have achieved so much together in UKIP.
“Now we are at the Brexit election, having triggered Article 50, and I am offering my full backing for Theresa May’s Brexit programme.
“Batley and Spen voted overwhelmingly in favour of Brexit, but our recently-elected Labour MP Tracy Brabin campaigned to stay in the EU.”
Former Dewsbury Conservative councillor Jonathan Scott is backing Lukic and said: “Aleks and I took charge of the local Vote Leave campaign together, so I have seen how hard he will work for change.
“Whatever happens locally, it is clear the Conservatives are going to win this snap election by a large margin across the country.
“Voters in Batley and Spen can focus on choosing the right local MP, and Aleks is the credible Brexit candidate.”
Mr Lukic attracted national media attention earlier this month when he spoke in support of more grammar schools at the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Cardiff.
He will launch his campaign website at alekslukic.co.uk within the next few days.