Paul Nutttall has welcomed disillusioned Conservative John Stanyer to UKIP.
Mr Stanyer is standing for the UK Independence Party in Penrith and the Border having fallen out with his Conservative Association over the selection of their parliamentary candidate for the seat.
Mr Stanyer, 45, is angry that none of the six hopefuls presented to a selection meeting last autumn was local and Eton-educated former diplomat Rory Stewart was chosen.
“The Conservatives are becoming less and less honest and open, less democratic,” he said.
“We need a change. We need some honesty and more say for ordinary people.
“Politicians are held in total disregard by the general public. I don’t believe Labour or the Conservatives are offering anything different.”
“I don’t think Rory Stewart begins to understand the problems facing a constituency like Penrith and the Border.
“He has never had to get his kids into a local school or set up his own business and get money from the banks.”
Mr Stanyer, a father-of-three, is also critical of Conservative leader David Cameron for going back on a promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
“I asked David Cameron twice face to face at public meetings and he made an assurance [that there would be a referendum] to me and other people in the room. He has gone back on his word,” said Mr Stanyer.
“I’m quite happy for us to be in a trading organisation but we’ve never had a referendum on going from the European Economic Community to the European Union. That’s never been put to the British people. I think it should be put.”
Mr Stanyer, a former estate agent, moved to Brocklebank, near Wigton, in 2008, with his wife, Janet, to run a 25-acre small holding with 35 sheep.
They used to live in Hazel Grove, Cheshire, where Mr Stanyer was chairman of the Conservative association.
He was the Conservative candidate in Maryport East at the county council elections last June.
“I am delighted that John has decided to join UKIP, `” said Mr Nuttall.
“He is a first class candidate and a great asset to UKIP. I have no doubt that local people who are equally disillusioned with the Conservative Party will show their support for him at the election.”