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

Tuesday, December 21, 2004 

UKIP 'Rotten to the Core' - says resigned Councillor

The Derby Evening Telegraph carries a report on Councillor Frank Leeming's views on UKIP in this evening's edition which may be read in full from this link. The following are some brief extracts from the long and detailed report:-

In a scathing broadside, he described the party as "rotten to the core".

And he claimed that the party has been "inundated" with resignations from other members.

He also alleged that following the October meeting of the Derby branch, the minutes had been "doctored" by the branch chairman and secretary, David Black and Josephine Rooney.

He claimed it was agreed at the meeting that an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) should be called in support of a national leadership challenge by East Midlands MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk.

He said Mr Black and Miss Rooney voted in favour of calling for a leadership contest at the EGM, but he alleges this was not reported to head office and did not appear in the minutes of the October meeting, which were presented at the next monthly meeting.

Mr Black firmly denies the accusations. An EGM was held last Wednesday, but it was unable to resolve the matter.

Yesterday, Mr Leeming decided to sever ties with the party altogether, accusing party representatives of "passing out misinformation".

Later in the article the leadership dispute within UKIP is described as follows:-

Leadership issue is at heart of wrangle

The rumpus at the Derby branch of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) is intrinsically linked to the power struggle for overall leadership of the party at national level.

Earlier this month, it was reported that UKIP, which was formed in 1993 to oppose Britain's membership of the European Union, could face a court challenge after its high command rejected demands for a vote on whether or not to hold a leadership contest.

Fifty-one branch chairmen who support wannabe leader Robert Kilroy-Silk, who was elected as an MEP for the East Midlands earlier this year, have called for an emergency general meeting - enough to force the move under party rules.

Mr Kilroy-Silk created a splash for the party on his triumphant return to politics but has since refused to work with the party's group of MEPs.

Calling an emergency meeting requires the support of at least 47 of the 233 branches but the leadership says that the motion is invalid as the chairmen need to hold local meetings to support the demands.

An emergency general meeting would vote on whether or not to hold a postal ballot to choose a leader.

Current leader Roger Knapman has said that a recent telephone poll organised by the party showed that he had the backing of most party members and that there was little appetite for a contest.

Those chairman who want to see a leadership vote believe that Mr Kilroy-Silk is the best person to lead the party into the next General Election, thanks, in part, to his much higher media profile.

Edward Spalton, of Etwall, was chairman of the Derby and South Derbyshire branch of UKIP from 1994 to 2000.

"My reason for leaving was that it seemed that the national leadership of UKIP was in the hands of a group of people, described as the 'cabal' by one former party secretary," he said.

"Whoever was elected to office, this unaccountable group always appeared to run things.

"At present, there appears to be something afoot in the branch structure. A constitutional amendment was brought in, requiring that 20 per cent of branches must support any call for an extraordinary general meeting.

"Previously, it had been 10 per cent. Evidence suggests to me that the 'cabal' is busy setting up 'ghost' branches to ensure that, however many branches vote for such a meeting, there will never be enough to equal 20 per cent."

posted by Martin |2:51 PM
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