One of Prime Minister David Cameron’s parliamentary candidates said on Monday he had fallen out with the Conservatives and was switching his support to the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) before a May 7 election.

The move by Mike Whitehead, until last week the Conservative candidate for the seat of Hull West in northern England, is a morale boost for UKIP, whose support in some opinion polls has dipped after a series of racism and sexism scandals.

UKIP, which wants an immediate British withdrawal from the EU and sharply lower immigration, hailed the switch as a “hammer blow” to the Conservatives, who said they had sacked Whitehead last week over an internal party disagreement.

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