THE leader of Hampshire’s UKIP party has stepped down as chairman following his election to the European Parliament.

After his success in last week’s European elections Hampshire county councillor Ray Finch has announced that he will no longer be in charge of his party group at county level while he settles into his new seat in Brussels.

He said: “I feel it would be simply too time consuming and I feel I won’t be able to combine the jobs effectively while I adjust to the new role.

“I will return to being a back bencher [at county level]. If I spent the first year getting used to being an MEP and led this group that would be wrong.

“The duties of group leader can expand and expand and I don’t want to do any job badly.

Of all the jobs I had, being the leader was the most time consuming.”

His party, who have ten councillors sitting at County Hall in Winchester, will be making an announcement next week as to who will take over his role.

Cllr Finch will continue to serve his seat on the county council representing the people of Bedhampton and Leigh Park.