Published: 00:00, 05 July 2014 |
Updated: 13:53, 05 July 2014
A former member of UKIP has been picked to fight for the Conservatives in Thanet South at the general election.
Craig Mackinlay has been named as the association's candidate in a constituency that will be a key battleground at the 2015 poll and could see UKIP leader Nigel Farage contest the seat.
Mr Mackinlay, a Medway councillor who is a Eurosceptic and on the right of the party, said he was delighted to have been picked.
He has fought two parliamentary elections before - but as a UKIP candidate in Gillingham in 2005 and Totnes in Devon in 2001.
The current Conservative MP Laura Sandys announced last year she intended to stand down for personal reasons.
He rejoined the Conservatives in 2005, having served briefly as leader, vice chairman and treasurer for UKIP.
He was chosen to be the Conservative candidate in the first election for a police commissioner in Kent in 2012 but was defeated by independent candidate Ann Barnes.
Speaking after last night's selection meeting, he said: "I am delighted to be selected and feel elated. The depth of Euroscepticism is very important here [Thanet]."
On the possibility of coming up against UKIP leader Nigel Farage, he said: "I cannot see why he would want to stand here. If he really wants a referendum, fighting me is not the way to do it."
Since 2006, Mackinlay has served as a magistrate on the North Kent Bench.
UKIP has yet to decide who will contest the seat but recently Nigel Farage said it was a "distinct possibility" he would put his name forward.
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
Your No1 guide to getting married in Kent. From dresses to discos and venues to veils, we've got everything you could possibly need for your big day
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating!
PLUS, register for free!.
Read our pick of the best holiday destinations. Whether its a weekend break, or something a little bit longer, we have reviewed a wide range of holidays.