THE former owner of Easton Neston has become the most high profile member of the Conservative party to defect to UKIP.
Lord Alexander Hesketh, who still owns Towcester Racecourse, cites Prime Minister David Cameron ruling out a referendum on the EU as the reason for his defection.
In a statement, Lord Hesketh, who sold Easton Neston to fashion mogul Leon Max in 2005 for £15million, said: “I have been a Conservative all my adult life but the recent decision by the Prime Minister to rule out a referendum on EU membership has angered me greatly.
“On this, and many other matters, UKIP’s views chime with mine and I am delighted to join the party which is fast becoming a real force in British politics.”
Lord Hesketh was treasurer of the Conservative Party between 2003 and 2004 and was chairman of the Conservative Party Foundation between 2003 and 2010.
He held a number of positions within the governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, and in May 1991 he was appointed chief whip in the House of Lords by John Major, a position he held for nearly two-and-a-half years.
He launched Formula 1 team Hesketh Racing in the 1970s which found success with British driver James Hunt.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “Over the last few months a number of former Conservatives have joined UKIP as they have become disillusioned with the Conservative Party”