UKIP Uncovered
What motivates the leaders of the United Kingdom Independence Party?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004 

Hoax E-Mail - Croucher Comes Clean?

Damian Hockney has issued a further press release on the topic of the extraordinary suppose hoax e-mail. The following is a statement just released and beneath that a longer explanation from Damian of what took place, its implications and the serious matters in which he prefers to be engaged


In an extraordinary twist to the growing call for a leadership election, UKIP Press Officer Mark Croucher has admitted sending a hoax e-mail to a number of members of the party's NEC who are "out of favour" with the leadership. He claims that the deception was carried out with the full authority of the Party Leader and Nigel Farage. In the e-mail, he included statements that the leadership was recommending that UKIP change party policy on leaving the EU in return for "a six figure sum" for the campaign.

In the e-mail, Mark Croucher commented on meeting a new donor who promised a "six figure sum" in return for changing the Manifesto to stress holding a referendum on the EU rather than the party policy of Leave the EU.

The e-mail stated that the Party Leader and Nigel Farage recommended "that we should accept the cash with that condition". You may remember the outcry when this same tactic was attempted at the 2001 General Election. NEC members who were shocked and alarmed at the e-mail began moves to stop Nigel Farage and Roger Knapman replacing the party's commitment to leaving the EU with one of a referendum on EU membership. As you know, the Party Leader and Nigel Farage have already stated on the record to the NEC that they will not disclose the party's election strategy to the NEC. Against this background, many NEC members believe that anything might happen and fear the worst.

I myself have contacted the Party Chairman to ask if this e-mail was a hoax, but have had no answer.

Having been discovered, Mark Croucher then hastily claimed that this was a fraudulent e-mail designed to entrap "leakers and wreckers".

However, more information is now emerging which puts a different light on this hoax e-mail.

1. If it was solely designed as a hoax to ensnare leakers, why were other NEC members loyal to the leadership sent it, and why was it provided to non-member Greg Lance-Watkins to spread around?
2. If this was merely entrapment as Mark Croucher claims, why did the disastrous draft manifesto feature a referendum on leaving the EU as part of its centrepiece? Is this concidence? 3. Will the leadership confirm that it has given the go ahead for this deception, and will they confirm which seven "out of favour" members are alleged to have been targetted by their deception?
4. Does the Party Chairman understand that this type of thing is unethical? You don't keep quiet about lawbreaking just because someone says to you that the information is "top secret". Can she confirm whether she also sanctioned this deception?

5. In a press interview, Mark Croucher boasted that he included things in his hoax e-mail that would appear to be believable. One of these, he stated, was the sell-out of the party's core policy in return for cash. Can any party official defend this type of action, and do they not see the irony of the situation where one of their own supporters states to the press that it would be convincing to tell senior members that the leadership would sell out the party's core policy, because "that is what they tried to do last time"?

6. Is this the best use of our leadership's time? Constructing e-mails and strategies in attempts to entrap fellow NEC members?

At the Assembly we have spent recent weeks dealing with proposals to reshape London Government (Commission on London Governance), on our much publicised opposition to ID cards and on the responses from the Metropolitan Police Service to our whistleblowing on Europol and its planned immunities from prosecution.

What have the party leaders been doing? As all recipients of this letter will know by now, I will get no answers to my queries. Just e-mails shouting "liar" and "wrecker". If this were not so tragic it would be funny. Once again, I call for the guilty parties to resign right away.

(Scroll down the page to read the original e-mail)

The earlier more detailed explanation was put on an internet discussion forum yesterday, now reproduced below to emphasise the typical UKIP diversion from the politics in which the party is supposed to be engaged:-


As you may remember, my team sent you earlier today an e-mail featuring a communication from Mark Croucher, the Party's Press Officer. The Press Officer's communication was to NEC members and claimed that the leadership was happy to change our policy on leaving the EU in exchange for a "six figure sum". It was suggested that we adopt a policy of calling instead for a referendum on the EU, somewhat like what was attempted in 2001.

I am writing you a brief note to let you know that the Press Officer now, following our exposure of the e-mail, confesses that he did indeed send the e-mail but claims that it was a hoax, designed to expose leaker's of information. This extraordinary claim simply does not hold water, but I should just explain that we have had one of the busiest days politically at the London Assembly we have ever had and have put a full response to this matter on hold until tomorrow. It is gone 11pm and the team have just left after a gruelling day.

My team have been working from first thing until almost 11pm today and yesterday on political issues which have all come together. I sit on the Commission on London Governance, which will make recommendations to Government on how London is governed, and we are planning a major submission to publicise the degree of EU control over the London economy...and to unveil our vision of how we would run London. There was a major meeting today and a number of urgent outcomes that needed instant research and handling.

Similarly, the Conservatives scored an amazing own goal and supported ID cards, leaving the field free for us to continue our campaign exposing the dangers of them, in line with party policy. We have already forced admissions in public meetings as a result of our role on the Assembly that ID cards will have no practical use in preventing terrorist attacks, and my role on the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has given us a great platform for this already.

And finally, the Met has provided the team at the Assembly with responses to our detailed raft of questions and criticisms of Europol. Unbelievably, Europol is being turned into an operational EU police force with immunities for life from prosecution - my role on the MPA
enables me to highlight this and to expose these extraordinary EU-related dangers. This will be a major plank for us in the New Year. But our team of Michael Harvey, Daniel Moss, Helen Szamuely, Miss Antoine, Shanker, Sue Carpenter, Steve Musich (not to mention the
Assembly Members!) have been working all day to try and deal with the load.

I think my team have put some details on

It means that any response to the extraordinary tangle developing over the leadership, and the claims that the e-mail about policy was a deliberate deception, will have to wait until tomorrow, but I felt that I should just write and keep you up to date.

Kind regards

Damian Hockney
Leader, UK Independence Party Group
London Assembly
City Hall

posted by Martin |6:20 PM
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