SOUTHAMPTON independent candidate Kim Rose, above, has abandoned his campaign after a little over a week and endorsed his Tory rival.

He is urging his followers in the Itchen constituency to vote for fellow Eurosceptic and “local man” Royston Smith.

Mr Rose, a former socialist and latterly UK Independence party candidate who attracted 1,623 votes in 2005, said he was won over by Conservative plans to give “more power to the people”.

He launched his campaign by attacking Gordon Brown for costing the country an estimated £7 billion by selling off the nation’s gold reserves at rock bottom prices a decade ago.

He has run a series of newspaper adverts urging voters to pick a candidate who will “serve the people rather than his own bank account” and “health warnings” over plans to add fluoride to water supplies in the city.

Mr Rose, a jeweller, claimed Labour Cabinet minister John Denham, Itchen MP since 1992, had become remote from local issues. “Labour has had a long time to change things and not a lot has been,” he said.

Mr Smith said: “He’s a well known local chap. I’m grateful for his endorsement.”

Mr Denham declined to comment on the switch.

Lib Dem candidate David Goodall said: “I don’t think it’s of any significance really”.