West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass has quit UKIP in protest at the ‘totalitarian’ leadership of Nigel Farage.
Mr Natrrass, who has been a member of UKIP since 1997, claims his resignation has been prompted by a ‘deterioration of the party’.
He has been involved in a legal row with party bosses over his deselection as a UKIP candidate in next year’s European elections.
Mr Nattrass confirmed he plans to stand at the European Parliament elections in May next year.
He said: “I will definitely be standing at the elections, and at the moment it looks as though it will be as an independent candidate.”
In a resignation letter, Mr Nattrass said that only ‘cronies’ of Mr Farage were picked to stand.
“Those who will not give Nigel Farage any resistance in what he does, the ‘Chosen Cronies’, are selected high on the lists and those high profile persons, in all regions, who may question him, were taken off,” he said.
“This process will enhance the objective, which is not to distract members’ votes away from ‘the Chosen Cronies’.”
He went on to describe this week’s events as ‘the final straw’.
“Nigel Farage advised the Ukip MEPs, myself included, that no matter how the members vote the National Executive Committee can change the order.
“So even if they do not vote for his cronies the NEC will confirm them as candidates.” He added: “This deterioration of our party is a great sadness to me, as I have received great support
from “the real UKIP members” who have worked so hard and have become my friends.”
Last month Mr Nattrass was told he would not be selected to stand for Ukip at the next European elections, with officials claiming he had failed a selection test.
This led to him mounting a failed legal challenge against the party.
Mr Nattrass has represented the West Midlands constituency at the European Parliament since 2004, covering the West Midlands area, Shropshire and Staffordshire.