Published: 00:01, 19 February 2018
The chairman of the Sittingbourne and Sheppey branch of Ukip has become the latest to desert the political party set up by Nigel Farage.
Richard Palmer announced his decision to quit at midnight last night.
It follows a raft of resignations after Henry Bolton from Folkestone was stripped of his leadership on Saturday.
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Mr Palmer, who stood as MP under the party’s banner in the 2015 General Election and is a former county chairman, described the decision to get rid of former army officer Mr Bolton as a “debacle.”
The party’s interim leader is now Gerard Batten. A new leadership election will take place within 90 days.
Mr Palmer said: “I cannot support a leader whose only claim to fame is Islamophobia. Gerard Batten stating that ‘Islam is a death cult’ is something I am unable to support.
“I joined UKIP as I believe in democracy but UKIP is morphing into something I cannot, and will not, support.”
He said the decision of the national executive to overturn members who voted for Mr Bolton at Saturday’s Extraordinary General Meeting was a “sham”.
In a statement he said: “By undemocratically overturning the members’ vote and sacking Henry Bolton after the sham of votes from less than five per cent of the members at the Extraordinary General Meeting, they have let the party down.
"They have caused such distrust and division it is my belief there is now no room to move UKIP forward and be taken seriously as a democratic political party.
“The NEC has set an example of how easy it is to overturn a majority vote, as many people would like to do with the (Brexit) referendum of June 2016.
“UKIP has failed at the top to address issues that affect local communities such as overdevelopment, air pollution, lack of affordable housing, transport infrastructure and many other issues that affect people.”
He said he will continue to fight for issues in Swale which affect people’s daily lives.
Swale council has eight Ukip councillors: Mike Baldock (Borden and Grove Park); Adrian Crowther (Minster Cliffs); James Hall (Murston); Richard Darby (Queenborough and Halfway); Paul Fleming (Roman); Mick Galvin (Sheerness); June Garrad (Sheppey Central) and Padmini Nissanga (Sheppey East).