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Saturday, December 23, 2006
Southend Times - 19 December 2006
RESIGNATIONS PUT LOCAL UKIP IN TURMOIL
Two of the leading members of the South Essex Branch of UKIP have resigned from the Party.
Members were rocked by the decisions of Chairman Brian Lee and Treasurer Ken Bennett to leave the party and join up with the English Democrats.
The departure of Mr Lee in particular is a major setback, because he set up the branch 12 years ago and his organisational skills have ensure that UKIP was a major force to contend with in both local and national elections.
In fact, his organisations of Jon Croft's campaign in Prittlewell ward in May led to him gaining aorund 20 per cent of the vote and was a factor in the defeat of the then Council lead Anna Waite.
Mr Lee explained this week "Basically, we have had enough. We have some superb members in our branch, and it has been a pleasure to work with them, but we have not had the support from higher up."
"It's not to do with policy, I still believe we shold come out of the EU."
"The big problem is that the party has not built up a proper organisation. I have been fighting with different managments for this to be done"
"It came to a head when rules were passsed down to regions, on how they should operate, but one of our MEP's. Tom Wise, decided to ignore them and set up a commitee which did not compley with the rules."
"both, he and our local MEP, Geoffrey Titford, seem to want to control everything"
"Mr Lee also traces back problems to the recent leadership election in which the victor was Nigel Farage, who defeated a candidate from Wales"
"Had Nigel offerred him a position we felt we could go somewhere"
"Unfortunately, the party does not know how to organise itself. It is very sad. We have made a tremendous effort in Essex and have made an impact"
"We have passed over all the books in a civilised manner and is is now up to others to take the party and the branch forward"
It is understood that Ron Hurrell has been elected as acting Chairman.
Under Mr Lee's leadership UKIP have fielded candidates in Southend West and Castle Point in recent general elections and in wards in Southend in local elections.
His new party, English Democrats whose aim is to have an English Parliament, fielded a candidate in the last General Election in Southend West.
There isn't a branch currently in this area.
One prominent member who lives in Wickford is Kim Gandy. She stood for the English Democrats in Basildon at the last General Election and it is believed that she and her partner intend to stand for their local council next May.
posted by Martin |