Two Ukip Euro MPs now in Rotherham race

UKIP's Mike Hookem and Jane Collins
UKIP's Mike Hookem and Jane Collins
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Ukip’s two Euro MPs in Yorkshire will be standing in Rotherham in the general election after a candidate switch.

Rotherham Ukip councillor Martyn Parker was the original party hopeful for Wentworth and Dearne.

But Ukip has confirmed that he will be replaced by Mike Hookem, one of Ukip’s members of European Parliament in Yorkshire.

Fellow MEP Jane Collins is already the candidate for Rotherham, currently held by Labour’s Sarah Champion.

A UKIP spokesman said: Coun Martyn Parker has stood down from the camaign, due to a re-evaluation of the seat.

“This decision is in no way a reflection on Martyn, who is a valued councillor and member of the party.”

Wentworth and Dearne is currently held by Labour MP and former housing minister John Healey.

Last year Ukip secured 10 seats on Rotherham Council and it is now the biggest opposition group on the authority.

Mr Hookem said: “I’m honoured to have the opportunity to fight the Wentworth and Dearne seat on behalf of Ukip.

“From speaking to local residents, the people of the area are crying out for change and I believe Ukip offer the only realistic alternative to Labour for many voters.

“I am under no illusion that it will be a hard fight to eak the Labour strangle-hold on this constituency.

“But I don’t shrink from a challenge, and I look forward to leading the way in tackling the many issues that affect voters.”

Mr Healey is taking legal action against Ms Collins and Coun Caven Vines, Ukip group leader on Rotherham Council, over comments they made in relation to the child sexual exploitation scandal in Rotherham.

If Ms Collins and Mr Hookem are elected as MPs, their roles as Euro MPs will be passed to ‘the next person on the list’, a party spokesman said.