KERRY Smith has been deselected by Ukip to stand for Westminster in Basildon and Thurrock next year.

The Basildon councillor received a phone call from the party this morning telling him he would not be standing for Stephen Metcalfe's seat in south Basildon and east Thurrock.

Mr Smith, who is also leader of Ukip in Basildon, said he had been left disappointed by the decision but understood the thinking behind it.

He said: "I don't know what's going on but I understand the seat is very high profile.

"They want a big fish and I think another high profile Mp, Labour or Tory, could be about to defect to Ukip and they will be the parliamentary prospective candidate for this seat."

Gavin Callaghan, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Basildon and Billericay, said: "Kerry Smith's fall from grace has come as no surprise. His performance in the Council Chamber has been pretty poor - last night he voted against a living wage for Council staff and contractors and rejected calls for a full debate on mental health patients in the borough.

"The decision to deselect him shows what we all know - UKIP in Basildon is in disarray. They don't speak with one voice, they split on every vote. They are letting the residents of Basildon down badly."