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

Saturday, December 11, 2004 

The Knapman Interview on the World at One Yesterday (Subject to editing)


BBC - The UK Independence Party has announced that it will contest the seat of Stone in Staffordshire at the next General Election. What is striking about this decision is that this seat is held by Bill Cash, widely regarded as one of the most eurosceptic of Conservative MPs.

UKIP's official policy has been to stay out of contests where the Tory candidate is very sympathetic to their own anti-European views. The policy was challenged by Robert Kilroy-Silk, who wanted the party to fight every seat in the country and his views were endorsed by the party conference in October.

But since then Mr Kilroy-Silk has fallen out with his colleagues over his leadership ambitions and has withdrawn from the UKIP Group in the European Parliament.

The present leadership has responded to its conference decision by allowing local activists to decide what to do. So why target Bill Cash in Stone, the Party's leader is Roger Knapman?

ROGER KNAPMAN - "The decision was to fight every seat, although the final decision rests with the local UKIP association and they have decided that Bill Cash, although sceptical, does not want to get out of the European Union. We do and Bill has been a little unlucky, he has got the party deputy leader, Mike Nattrass, a powerful campaigner against him. And Mike Nattrass was saying let's get out of the European Union and Bill Cash will be, as he has been for the last 30 years, hoping to re-negotiate some part of the treaties."

BBC - "Well before we come on to Mr Cash and his record in Stone, if you let in the Labour candidate, which is possible, is that a good result for you?"

ROGER KNAPMAN - "I just don't mind whether its which of the Lib, Lab or Con are supposedly in power at Westminster because that's outdated thinking, there is no power at Westminster."

BBC - "This of course, if you do fight every seat in the land, which was what Robert Kilroy-Silk wanted, are there any further points of difference between you if you are going to do what he wanted in the first place?"

ROGER KNAPMAN - "There were very few, that debate is not actually as significant as people were thinking. The question was should we go and fight every seat or should we try and have a deal with perhaps thirty on the Labour benches who want to fight the Constitution and, er, perhaps I should think five, I can't think of five tory eurosceptics - not proper ones - they decided to fight every seat but subject to the final decision being made by the local UKIP Association."

BBC - "What is the significance of fifty UKIP party constituencies who have decided they want to have a leadership challenge?"

ROGER KNAPMAN - "Very little actually, there is no mechanism, I am assured by the Chairman, whereby there can be a leadership challenge at this time and quite frankly I have eighty per cent support in the party."

BBC - "So you don't think - no you know - that there will be no leadership challenge from what you are saying?"

ROGER KNAPMAN - "I'm afraid I dwell in the world of politics, and you would have to speak to the party chairman, but I think she would give you that reply. It's fun, um Robert can only keep in the news now by terrifying us, because you sacked him and all the rest of it, he's got very little to offer. He wants to keep in the news because that's how he lives and breathes and this is one way of him keeping in the news."

BBC - And it doesn't matter that he is the one that has achieved the most publicity for you ever since your party was formed?

ROGER KNAPMAN - No he was only there for about five minutes, we've been there for ten years, we're looking ahead to fighting every seat if we can in the forthcoming General Election and then we stand our first real chance of getting Britain out of the embrace of the European Union at the time of the next Referendum on the Constitution.

We are going to be in the news not because of chat-show antics but because we have got a real input into politics.


He correctly pointed out that contrary to what 'Roger' had said there was power at Westminster and it was only with that primacy of Acts of Parliament could withdrawal be effected.

Bill Cash also made a critical point in referring to the report in The Times of 25th September when Mike Nattrass had likened the struggle to leave the EU to that of the Chechens thus being able to at a stroke identify UKIP with extremism.

Knapman and Nattrass, among others, must now GO!

posted by Martin |1:27 PM
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