Kent

UKIP replace Janice Atkinson with Labour defector

Nigel Farage and Harriet Yeo Image copyright PA
Image caption Harriet Yeo's candidacy was announced by party leader Nigel Farage

UKIP have selected a replacement general election candidate for Janice Atkinson after she was expelled from the party on Monday.

Ms Atkinson was thrown out after allegations a member of her staff tried to arrange a false receipt for a meal.

The new candidate for Folkestone and Hythe in Kent is Harriet Yeo, former chairwoman of Labour's national executive committee.

She said Kent needed a party which would "put the people first".

"We don't have that at the moment," she said.

"The Conservatives take us for granted, the Labour Party ignore us and it's about time that we had a voice that this part of the country needs."

South East MEP Ms Atkinson and her assistant, Christine Hewitt, who was also expelled from the party following the disciplinary hearing, have 14 days to appeal.

Ms Atkinson was initially suspended on Friday following an investigation by The Sun newspaper.

It published a secret recording appearing to show Ms Hewitt asking the manager of a restaurant in Margate, Kent, for an invoice for a much higher sum than the bill she had received.

Ms Hewitt is heard to say: "The idea is we overcharge them slightly, because that's the way we repatriate it."

A member of the hotel staff replies: "3,150, is that alright? Yeah, if you're all right with that? Is that enough for you?"

Ms Hewitt then says: "Oh God yeah, that's more than enough."

It is not known whether Ms Atkinson knew or authorised her staff member's apparent actions.

Earlier, Ms Atkinson said she was "deeply disappointed" by her expulsion from UKIP.

"I was elected to represent the constituents of the South East of England and I will continue to work tirelessly on their behalf and for the best interests of our country," she said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Janice Atkinson was due to fight the Folkestone and Hythe seat

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