KIDDERMINSTER-based MEP James Carver has quit UKIP after more than two decades saying he was “out of kilter” with the party.

Mr Carver announced his resignation earlier this evening (May 28) and said he would see out his term as an independent MEP.

He also said he didn’t want to get into a public row with UKIP following his decision, hinting at problems between himself and the current hierarchy.

Mr Carver first stood for UKIP in the 1997 general election when he contested the Orpington seat. He later unsuccessfully contested seats in Cheltenham in 2001, Preseli Pembrokeshire in 2005 and Stourbridge in 2015. He was successfully elected to the European Parliament in 2014.

He was made UKIP’s Foreign Affairs spokesman but quit in April 2017 because he disagreed with the party’s policy to ban the burqa.

He also backed Henry Bolton in the leadership race last year and when he succeeded, Mr Carver was made assistant deputy leader.

But the partnership came to an end today. In a statement on Facebook, Mr Carver said: “After 22 years’ tireless campaigning for UKIP, I now find myself increasingly out of kilter with the party.

“However, I have no desire to engage in a public spat that would only serve to further the agenda of UKIP’s political opponents and those trying to halt the UK’s exit from the EU.

“All I will say is that my decision was not taken lightly and was only made after much deliberation over recent months.

“With less than a year to go before the United Kingdom reclaims our independence from the European Union, I sincerely believe that I can best serve my constituents as an independent MEP during this crucially important final part of my mandate, which will include voting on the final Brexit deal with the European Union.

“Accordingly, I have also resigned from the EFDD parliamentary group and will now sit as a “Non Iscrit” (Independent).

“Throughout my time as an MEP, I have constantly endeavoured to represent my constituents to the best of my ability and my wide and varied constituency caseload provides testament to these efforts.

“Experience has helped me appreciate how personal happiness and well-being can only be attained by staying true to one’s beliefs, which is something that I have, and always will, seek to achieve.

“I am really excited by the prospect of the challenges ahead, from a more independently minded position”.