North East MEP Jonathan Arnott resigns from UKIP
One of the MEPs representing the North East region has quit the UKIP party.
Jonathan Arnott posted a full statement on his website at around 1.30pm today.
In it, he said that UKIP was "always a flawed party" but that it was "the only show in town" for anyone who felt "let down" or "out of touch" with the current political establishment.
Mr Arnott has already changed his Twitter bio to read: "Independent MEP for the North East."
The statement continued: "I tried my best to avoid the nastiness that pervades modern politics. I believed my party to be different, or at least to be capable of becoming something different.
"I, like so many others, believed it to have potential and I continued to believe in that potential long after the evidence no longer supported it – out of loyalty to the many honest, hard-working members who still believed in it."
The MEP said that the party had shifted its position on a number of issues - and that they were now at "considerable variance" with his own views. He pledged to continue to represent his constituents' views, and "continue to work for all the things I was elected to achieve".
He resigned as the party's general secretary in June last year.
He ended his statement with: "After nearly 17 years of trying to make this Party something I could be proud to represent, I do not take this decision lightly but there is no longer any alternative."