NEWPORT’S branch of UKIP appeared in turmoil at the weekend as their chairman appealed for help to “rid this branch of EDL sympathisers”.
Mike Chaffin posted on the branch’s Facebook page: “Not in my name, not in my party and not in my town!”
He pointed readers to comments made by the Newport East parliamentary candidate Donald Grewar on the EDL Facebook page and BNP website.
Mr Grewar responded to an EDL post warning of ‘no surrender to militant Islam or political correctness’ with the comment: “Thus sais it all… the mood of the nation… well done EDL” [sic].
And he said in response to an article on the BNP website about gay marriage: “Well said Richtofen…. sadly this will all come to fruition in the very near future. We need to resist and stand our ground.”
Mr Chaffin asked party members: “Do you consider someone who both praises the English Defence League and posts on the British National Party’s own website to be a suitable candidate?”
He revealed he had been asked to stand down as Chairman and allow two others to take over the branch.
A rival Newport UKIP Facebook page appeared to have been set up this month, with minutes from a meeting on January 23.
In a post to the new page, Andy Byers claimed Mike Chaffin “will be resigning as Chairman of the Newport Branch”.
He said the committee had nominated James Peterson to stand as temporary Chairman until an AGM on February 23.
But after this had been posted, Mr Chaffin continued to refer to himself as chairman on the initial Facebook page.
Mr Chaffin also proposed an annual general meeting to deal with the issues.
He said that people “who even flirt” with these parties “should be banished and those who help or collude with them named,” he added.
He called for such party members “to take their views to a party more closely aligned with their morals.”
His post ended: “If we tolerate this then what will be next?
Andrew Byers, named by Mr Chaffin in his post, said he was “surprised” by the allegations which he said were “completely without foundation”. He added it was impossible to be a member of both Ukip and one of the other parties mentioned.
He said: “So it’s a no comment at the moment. He appears to have an issue…he’s obviously quite disgruntled.”
A spokesman for Hope Not Hate said this was proof the party was run by “amateurs”.
Simon Cressy said: “There are extreme elements within UKIP, as can be demonstrated by some of the comments.
“He’s coming out saying he supports the EDL – he’s not the right candidate to represent the good people of Newport East.
“We would call on UKIP to remove Donald Grewar and any other person that has made extremist comments.”
Donald Grewar has been approached for comment.
A UKIP spokesman said: “UKIP takes all complaints and concerns seriously and fully investigates all issues brought to our attention. Party members living in Newport recently raised some concerns with the party through our internal procedures and the party acted swiftly in ordering an investigation into these matters. When the full facts become known we will release a full statement on our website.”
South Wales Argus
The Amjad Bashir suspension story is developing by the minute.
What is becoming clear is that he has / was about about to defect to The Conservative Party and has spoke to The Daily Telegraph claiming that UKIP had become a “party of ruthless self-interest” and that UKIP was incapable of delivering a referendum on membership of the EU.
Bashir went on to describe UKIP as “pretty amateur” and condemned its “ridiculous” lack of policies, saying the party was “delusional” over its chances of winning seats in the General Election in May.
Bashir says: “After almost three years as a party member, I realise that Ukip is more concerned with furthering its own interests as a political party than delivering for the British people.
“I’ve seen Ukip both at home, and abroad, and I’m sorry to say they’re pretty amateur. In the European Parliament, some of their MEPs think it’s acceptable to shout and fool around.”
“They think they’ll sweep up dozens of seats in May, but that’s delusional. What they are in very real danger of doing, however, is making a big enough dent in the Conservative vote to let Labour in.”
It’s not clear at the moment what came first, Amjad Bashir’s defection or suspension.
What is clear however is that there is one fewer UKIP MEP’s tonight.
Hope not Hate
A former Ukip MEP has pleaded not guilty to misconduct in a public office by fraudulently claiming more than £300,000 in parliamentary assistance allowance.
Ashley Mote, 79, appeared before the Old Bailey where he denied one count of misconduct in public office, one of acquiring criminal property, three of obtaining a money transfer by deception, three of false accounting and one of fraud.
The details of the first charge of misconduct in a public office stated that between 10 June 2004 and 30 June 2009, while a member of the European parliament, he made fraudulent claims for parliamentary assistance allowance amounting to more than £300,000.
The alleged false claims related to legal advice and research, the court heard.
Mr Justice Stuart-Smith granted Mote, from Binsted in Hampshire, continued bail until his trial at Southwark crown court, which is due to start on 20 April.
The defendant was initially elected as an MEP for Ukip, but was expelled from the party days after the 2004 election, and was an independent until he decided not to stand for election in 2009.
A former counter terrorism operative and UKIP candidate sent a “grossly offensive” message to a Cambridge mosque and posted anti-Islamic material on his Facebook page.
And when police raided the home of Ian Couch, a former marine and member of the special forces, they found half a pig’s head in his fridge, heard Cambridge Magistrates’ Court.
Now the 54-year-old, of Woollards Way, Great Shelford, faces a jail sentence after he admitted emailing the Omar Faruque mosque and posting a photograph of the pig’s head on Facebook accompanied by religious slurs.
Joe Bird, prosecuting, explained that on the evening of August 20 last year, Couch, who was then drunk, sent the email to the mosque after becoming angry at a news report on the beheading of US journalist James Foley.
Addressing Couch – who stood as a South Cambs District Council candidate in May last year – Mr Bird said attempting to justify his email as “freedom of expression” was just an excuse for unacceptable behaviour.
He added: “You knew full well when you sent that email that it’s something they would find grossly offensive.”
Taxi driver Abdul Muquith, who volunteers as a receptionist at the Kirkwood Road mosque and received the email, told the court it left him “disgusted and shocked”.
He said: “I was scared and very upset because we are quite a close-knit community in that area and we are responsible for the wellbeing and safety our congregation.
“I was shocked because we’d never received any emails in the past in that kind of language – we were scared that something might happen in the morning when he arrived.”
Mr Muquith then discovered the shocking contents of Couch’s Facebook page – which has a public privacy setting – when he looked him up after receiving the initial email.
He continued: “There were pictures and a lot of language which was against Muslims and Islam and a lot of statements about putting pigs’ heads in the mosques.
“There are no words to describe how shocking it was for me to see things like that on a Facebook page.”
Speaking in court, Couch confessed he had been drinking heavily when he sent the email and that he was angry and emotional after watching the news and an online video of four women being killed by militants.
He also argued it was a coincidence the head was found in his fridge upon his arrest, claiming he had got it as a treat for his dogs despite it being the first time he had ever bought a head rather than just ears or trotters.
However, lead magistrate Marisa Johnson rejected any freedom of expression defence and slammed Couch for attempting to defend the “indefensible”.
She said: “We find the email was offensive – we are offended by it and it had the intention of causing offence and distress to the people who received it.
“You are in a very serious situation, particularly at these volatile and serious times.
“We consider it a hate crime and are looking at a custodial sentence with a six-week starting point.
“We can’t tolerate this kind of behaviour from anyone which is likely to make matters worse for people in the community.”
Commenting on the conviction, Paul Bullen, UKIP group leader for Cambridgeshire County Council, confirmed Couch was no longer a member of the party.
He told the News: “When the party became aware that he was anti-Islamic and that he didn’t have our standards we asked him to leave, which he did immediately.
“I believe his conviction is correct and his actions are damaging to the community – you can’t judge a religion on a few fanatics.”
Ukip councillor fired after allegedly saying she has a problem with ‘negroes’ because there’s ‘something about their facesPosted: January 8, 2015
A Ukip councillor who was fired from the party allegedly said she had a problem with ‘negroes’ because there’s ‘something wrong with their faces’.
Thanet councillor Rozanne Duncan, 68, was expelled from the eurosceptic party last month for comments made in a TV interview that, despite Ukip declining to publish, were described by one source described as ‘jaw-dropping’.
And it has now been revealed that Ms Duncan lost her job because she allegedly said she had a problem with ‘negroes’, The Times reports.
Ukip is expelling Cllr Rozanne Duncan under rule 15 of its constitution for bringing the party into disrepute. She has 28 days to appeal,’ a party spokesman said at the time of the sacking.
The comments, which apparently included Ms Duncan saying there was ‘something about the faces’ of black people, were reportedly said during the filming of a television documentary about Ukip in South Thanet, the constituency where party leader Nigel Farage will stand for election in May.
The former Conservative allegedly went on to insist that she was ‘not a racist’ because she had ‘many Asian shopkeeper and local business friends’.
Kent councillor is alleged to have brought the party into disrepute in yet-to-be-broadcast TV interview
A Ukip councillor in Kent has been expelled for allegedly bringing the party into disrepute with “jaw dropping” remarks in a yet-to-be-aired television interview, it has been reported.
Rozanne Duncan is a councillor in South Thanet, the Kent constituency where Nigel Farage intends to stand in next year’s general election and in August let slip the party leader’s plans, which had hitherto been kept secret.
The latest incident comes as a poll shows that support for Ukip, and the personal approval ratings of its leader, is slipping. The survey, by Opinium for the Observer, show Farage’s rating below that of David Cameron and support for the party falling three points to 16%.
Ukip confirmed that Duncan was being expelled from the party but a spokesman refused to comment on reports from Kent Online that she was being thrown out over comments made in a television interview, described to the site by a source as “jaw-dropping”.
“Ukip is expelling Cllr Rozanne Duncan under rule 15 of its constitution for bringing the party into disrepute. She has 28 days to appeal,” said the spokesman. Duncan could not be reached for comment on Sunday.
The party has had a testing week. On Friday, Farage defended a former party candidate who stood down after being recorded referring to “poofters” and calling a woman with a Chinese name a “Chinky bird”. He also spoke of shooting “peasants” in comments made during a phone call that was recorded. It was claimed in his defence that he was on sedatives at the time.
Farage claimed Kerry Smith, who had been selected to stand for what has been called a winnable seat in South Basildon and East Thurrock, was simply using language that was common in the working-class area of east London from which he comes.
Farage told LBC: “I’m a bit sad, because Kerry Smith is a rough diamond. He’s a council house boy from the East End of London, left school early and talks and speaks in a way that a lot of people from that background do.” But he acknowledged he was not suitable to be a general election candidate.
It was reported earlier on Sunday that Ukip has told its activists not to use social media following a series of high profile gaffes. The party has changed its constitution to ban the unauthorised use of its logo and, in new “rules for online communication”, Ukip’s chairman, Steve Crowther, has warned those tempted to join Twitter: “My advice: just don’t.”
On Thursday last week, it emerged in a Channel 4 news report that a Ukip MEP, Janice Atkinson, who has criticised “feckless families” was being pursued for more than £2,000 in unpaid child support.
Farage’s party down by 12 county representatives out of 139, just a year on from May 2013 poll, Guardian research shows
Ukip has lost almost one in 10 of the county councillors who won their seats when the party made a breakthrough at last year’s local elections, research by the Guardian has found.
A year on from the May 2013 poll, the party is down by 12 county representatives out of the 139 who were elected.
The majority of new Ukip county councillors appear to have been working actively in their communities over the past 12 months, with statistics showing they have the best attendance record of any party at more than 92% of compulsory meetings. In many areas, they have fought to limit councillor allowances and perks, campaigned against HS2 and mounted protests against EU flags being flown in town halls.
However, the band of newly elected councillors also appears to have been plagued by a disproportionate number of controversies. They include Peter Lagoda in Cambridgeshire, who has pleaded guilty to benefit fraud amounting to almost £25,000; Matthew Smith in Norfolk, who was charged with electoral fraud earlier this year; and Peter Georgiou, also in Norfolk, who resigned after admitting to shoplifting from Poundstretcher
Among those who have held on to their jobs is Victoria Ayling in Lincolnshire, now a parliamentary candidate, who was filmed saying she would like to “send the lot back”. Ayling claimed she had been referring to illegal immigrants.
A number of others left the party after controversies over remarks made on social media. Eric Kitson of Worcestershire resigned after posting anti-Muslim and antisemitic messages on Facebook. Chris Pain, formerly opposition leader on Lincolnshire county council, was also criticised after his Facebook page carried a post referring to “sandal-wearing, bomb-making, camel-riding … ragheads”. He denied posting the comments and said his Facebook page was hacked. However, he was expelled from the party in a separate feud with the leadership and took four county councillors with him to form a new group – Independence from Ukip. One of those who left to join his breakaway group was Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright, whose Facebook page included a post saying: “Bottom line is we have too many muslims [sic] in this country!”
Others to have left include the Worcestershire councillor Martin Jenkins, who resigned in protest at the party’s anti-gay marriage stance, and a Somerset councillor, Nigel Pearson, who had “irreconcilable differences” with his local party. A Worcestershire councillor, Tony Baker, died after just five weeks in office and the seat was retaken in a byelection by a Conservative.
Over the year, the party has gained new councillors through defections on a district, borough and town level, with 19 coming from Labour and the Conservatives in London alone. However, its county council losses during the year are many times higher than the other parties, with overall levels of Conservative and Labour councillors remaining almost stable.
Dr Matthew Goodwin, a politics expert at Nottingham University, said this would not undermine Ukip’s support and, in fact, the controversies may add to its appeal.
“While it is tempting to think the performance of radical right councillors or members of the European parliament might impact on their support, it clearly does not,” he said.
“With the radical right, and figures like [party leader Nigel] Farage, it is as if voters are willing to give them a free pass – to use them as a vehicle through which they can express their intensely held concerns over Europe, immigration and the state of our politics while overlooking their own failings or those of individual councillors and candidates. Indeed the past two months of British politics have made one thing clear; lining up voices in the establishment to denounce or ridicule an anti-establishment revolt does not work. If anything, it simply adds to their appeal.”
Ukip’s high drop-out rate is mirrored in the European parliament, where it has lost a third of its representatives since the last election for Brussels.
However, Farage has claimed his councillors are coming under unfair scrutiny as other parties trawl through social media for misdemeanours. The party has also launched a fightback by highlighting bad behaviour by councillors from other parties, including a Lib Dem borough councillor in Sutton recently convicted of racially aggravated assault.
Countering claims it has picked candidates for this month’s district, borough and town council elections with racist views, Farage held an event showcasing the party’s supporters from ethnic minorities last week. But this was undermined this week by the resignation of young Ukip rising star Sanya-Jeet Thandi, who left on the grounds that she believes the party has descended into a terrifying “form of racist populism”.
Ukip did not respond when asked to comment on the number of councillors who have left the party.