The 90 minute candidacy: Ukip’s coup goes sour

By staff

Ukip announced a major new candidacy today only to see it reportedly fall apart less than two hours later, in scenes which could easily have featured in TV comedy The Thick Of It.

The party appeared to score a major coup when it announced Sushil Patel, father of Tory backbencher Priti Patel, would be standing in the local elections.

But 90 minutes later a party spokesperson told the Sun newspaper he had already stood down, leading to speculation his daughter had been on the phone with a stern telling off for her father.

It was later reported he was still standing as a candidate.

Some reports suggest the confusion arose when a Ukip press officer informed a BBC journalist of the candidacy in a Westminster pub last night.

Unknown to the Ukip staffer the journalist was drinking with a government special adviser, who promptly told Conservative HQ of the move – allowing them to quickly kill it when it was announced this afternoon.

A Ukip press release this afternoon suggests Patel is still a candidate but will not be conducting interviews.

"I am proud of being a Ukip candidate and very proud of the achievements of my daughter who represents the people of Witham in an exemplarily fashion," the party quoted him as saying.

"My views are my own and I am astonished that there has been quite so much interest in my candidacy."