UKIP has announced it will not contest Bournemouth West in the forthcoming General Election.

Martin Houlden, vice chairman of the party's local branch, and their candidate in 2015, said that with Brexit-backing Conor Burns representing the constituency for the Conservative Party they did not wish to split the Eurosceptic vote.

"The committee have decided not to contest the Bournemouth West seat at the forthcoming election as the present MP Conor Burns also believes the country would be better off leaving the EU, and therefore it does not make sense to oppose him," he said.

"Whilst we are still a very active local party, we want to ensure that the decision taken by the people of the United Kingdom in June of last year to leave the European Union is duly carried out, and we do not want to risk Brexit by splitting the vote and allow a weak coalition Government to ignore the will of the people.

"UKIP Bournemouth West have decided to put country before party, people before politics. Although we understand that our members and supporters would have wanted to vote for a UKIP candidate, we hope they can see our logic for this one-off decision."

Earlier this month, when approached by the Daily Echo after the defection of Bournemouth's sole UKIP councillor Laurence Fear to the Tory Party, Mr Houlden said UKIP had a significance in the north of England, but might struggle to find suitable candidates in Dorset.

The party is due to meet later this week where a decision will be made by the other constituency groups. Mr Houlden said he believed other areas with Brexit-supporting MPs might well follow Bournemouth West's lead.