A Brexit Party candidate for Northampton learned the news that he was going to be told to step down from a tweet online.
Norman Nickason had been due to pit himself against Conservative candidate Michael Ellis in the Northampton North ward, but will now step down after a pact was reached between Tory leader Boris Johnson and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
The agreement means that no Brexit Party candidates will stand in seats that were won by the Conservatives at the last election.
Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Mr Nickason said: “It’s happened quite quickly. The first I knew about it for sure was when I read a tweet from Guido Fawkes.
“They had advised us not to put our nomination forms and paperwork in until later this week, so we sensed something may be happening. I then saw something about talks happening.”
Mr Nickason, who had previously been a member of the Conservatives, defected to the Brexit party after feeling that promises to carry out the result of the 2016 EU referendum had been ‘betrayed’.
He said: “What’s happened since is that we have people saying that we didn’t understand what we were voting for. We have had three years of messing around.
“I joined the Conservatives in 2016 around the time of the referendum and was with them until earlier this year. I was getting very disappointed that nothing was happening.
“I was a bit reluctant to stand against Michael Ellis at first because in the past he has actually helped me out on an issue. But it wasn’t about the person it was about the party.”
But since being told to step down, Mr Nickason – a registered mental health nurse who has lived in the town and attended Northampton School for Boys before moving to Desborough – has decided to lend his support once more to Mr Ellis.
He added: “They need to get behind Brexit because the Brexit party is still here and we will be watching what happens. We have done this in good faith, so I would encourage people to get behind Michael Ellis but would remind him that we voted for Brexit, and not any half measures.”
James Cotton will also be standing down as the Brexit Party candidate for Northampton South.
Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said that the pact meant that ‘the Conservative Party are the Brexit Party now’, while Green Party candidate Caroline Lucas said the Conservatives had ‘morphed into the same narrow sect as Brexit Party’.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn added: “This Trump alliance is Thatcherism on steroids and could send £500 million a week from our NHS to big drugs companies. It must be stopped.”
But Conservative leader Boris Johnson said: “We welcome Nigel Farage’s recognition that another gridlocked hung parliament is the greatest threat to getting Brexit done.”
The remaining candidates to have declared they are standing in Northampton North is now as follows:
Michael Ellis (Conservative)
Sally Keeble (Labour)
Katherine Pate (Green Party)
Martin Sawyer (Liberal Democrat)