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New UKIP candidate is champion canoeist and former police inspector

Richard Hendron, who defected from the Tories two years ago, has been chosen to represent UKIP in Brentford and Isleworth

Richard Hendron, UKIP candidate for Brentford and Isleworth

A champion canoeist and former police officer has been named as UKIP's candidate for Brentford and Isleworth.

Richard Hendron served with the Metropolitan Police for nine years, rising to the rank of inspector, before becoming a barrister.

He is the commodore of Richmond Canoe Club and a five-time winner of the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race, in which some 600 people compete each year.

The 34-year-old, of Ealing, was on the Conservative candidate list, having helped with Oliver Letwin's successful campaign at the 2010 General Election. But he switched ranks two years ago as he felt the party had lost touch sight of what it stood for.

"I felt the Tories were moving away from their policies and abandoning what they stood for, and I wasn't particularly impressed with David Cameron's premiership," he said. "There are probably two issues most people realise UKIP stands for, which is controls on immigration and withdrawal from the European Union, but they don't always appreciate the knock-on effect immigration has on so many other policy areas.

"When I was with the Met, I would see on a pretty much daily basis the huge demand for schools, housing and hospitals caused by uncontrolled immigration.

"It's only sensible you have control over the numbers coming in because otherwise it's impossible to plan for the impact."

Mr Hendron grew up in west London and has always lived between Ealing and Richmond. He attended Gunnersbury Catholic School, in Brentford, and West Thames College, in Isleworth, before joining the Met aged 19 and serving on the front line in Southall and Hounslow, among other areas.

Richard Hendron, UKIP candidate for Brentford and Isleworth, in his days as a police officer

His time in the force means he inevitably has strong views on policing.

He believes there are far too many unwarranted PCSOs today, although he says they do have their place like manning police cordons.

He also opposes short-term prison sentences, which he says often end up alienating criminals and making them more likely to reoffend. He insists the focus should be on rehabilitation, and says community service is a more effective punishment.

Away from policing, another big bugbear of his is hospital parking charges, which he described as "a tax on the unwell" and said UKIP would move to scrap.

He remains on the fence when it comes to expansion at Heathrow, saying he is not against a third runway in principle provided those living under the flight paths are properly compensated.

He claimed it was important to keep an open mind until the Airports Commission, which is weighing up the relative merits of expanding Heathrow or Gatwick, announces it conclusions after the election.

Away from the turbulent political waters, Mr Hendron's big passion is canoeing. He first picked up a paddle in his teens and has won numerous medals, including victory in the world's longest canoe race, the 1,000-mile Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race in Canada, for which he said he still holds the fastest time ever recorded.

UKIP failed to win a seat on Hounslow Council at last year's local election, despite a number of Tory councillors defecting to the party.

Former Hounslow UKIP group leader Colin Botterill, himself a Tory defector, said last year the party should not risk "watering down" the Conservative vote by putting forward a candidate for Brentford and Isleworth.

UKIP has yet to announce its candidate to stand in Feltham and Heston at the General Election on May 7.

Journalists

Salina Patel
Hounslow
Katherine Clementine
Uxbridge
David Rivers
Ealing
Goolistan Cooper
Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster
Ryan O'Donovan
Harrow and Brent
Robert Cumber
Hounslow
Emily Chudy
What's On Reporter
Matt Lewis
Sports Reporter
Tom Moore
Sports Reporter
Tim Street
Deputy Sports Editor
Paul Warburton
Sports Reporter