Ukip has suspended its four Southend councillors… because they disowned the party’s Parliamentary candidate.
The anti-EU party has confirmed that James Moyies, Tino Callaghan, Lawrence Davies, and Lee Burling, have had their party membership suspended.
An email to all four of them says they cannot leaflet, campaign, and canvass under the Ukip banner, and must not wear any clothing that bears the anti-EU propaganda.
All four will also not be allowed in Ukip branch meetings or AGMs.
The decision was taken after the group voted unanimously to kick out Parliamentary candidate Floyd Waterworth from their group on Southend Council.
Steve Crowther, Ukip’s national chairman, said: “UKIP has suspended Cllrs James Moyies, Tino Callaghan, Lawrence Davies and Lee Burling from Party activities, following their expulsion of Cllr Floyd Waterworth from their Group.
“The Party considers that the expulsion was unnecessarily damaging to Mr Waterworth’s campaign as the UKIP candidate for Southend East & Rochford. Mr Waterworth has the Party’s full backing as the candidate, and will now be able to focus all his efforts on winning the election in May.”
Ukip refused to confirm whether the suspensions are indefinite or not, or whether the group would be allowed to identify as Ukip councillors at Southend Council.
As group leader, councillor Moyies was able to expel councillor Waterworth under Local Government Act legislation, but Ukip says this action was at odds with its policy.
Councillor Waterworth, who is vying for Southend East and Rochford in May, said:
Cllr Waterworth, UKIPs Parliamentary Candidate for Rochford and Southend East, said: “I knew nothing of this decision before it was made. It came as a total surprise to me.
“I believe, as does the National Party Chairman, that the Group failed to conduct the exclusion according to the rules and natural justice. To expel someone without their knowledge of, or participation in, the process, is not proper.
“The action was guaranteed to ensure negative publicity. That is not acceptable to the Party.
“However, our campaigning in the constituency is going well. Private polls show we are ahead of the Tories now.”
We reported just last week about the meltdown occurring within the ranks of Southend UKIP.
Southend UKIP group leader on the local council James Moyies refused to support Floyd Waterworth the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Rochford & Southend East.
A war of words broke out between the two UKIP men which eventually saw the resignation of Moyies as South Essex chairman.
We can now report that UKIP have suspended Moyies from the party for 6 months and excluded him from attending any UKIP meeting.
A leaked email to Moyies from UKIP’s very own “Prince of Darkness”, party chairman Prince Steve Crowther backs Floyd Waterworth as candidate.
Crowther wrote “While I imagine you will be unwilling to actively support these campaigns, I ask you to ensure no obstacles are put in the way of them and that other members are encouraged to give them their fullest co-operation.”
I suspect we haven’t heard the end of this story.
A MAJOR rift has opened up within Ukip’s ranks in Southend, with its prospective MP at loggerheads with the local party leader.
James Moyies, Ukip leader on Southend Council, has refused to support Floyd Waterworth as the party’s candidate for Rochford and Southend East in next year’s general election and appealed against his selection.
In response Mr Waterworth, who beat Mr Moyies to the candidacy, has told him to stop his “weasel words” or resign.
Mr Waterworth, who serves under Mr Moyies as Ukip councillor for Blenheim Park, said: “I understand he may not want to canvass for me because he is obviously very disappointed not to get the nomination, but he should put nothing in the way of my candidacy.
“I have asked him to confirm or deny the weasel words attributed to him. As the leader of Ukip on Southend Council he has a duty to do that.
“If he doesn’t, he needs to answer to the party.
“There has been a challenge by James to Ukip’s national executive committee, but they have confirmed my candidacy.
“It’s up to James Moyies to back me or step down.”
Mr Moyies, Ukip councillor for Shoebury West, was widely tipped to become the party’s parliamentary candidate after founding its local branch six years ago and rising to be regional chairman for the east of England and chairman of the national meeting of regional chairman and organisers.
The Echo understands Mr Moyies has accused Mr Waterworth of using a confidential database of party members to canvass for selection and even ferrying less mobile members to the vote.
Mr Waterworth has refused to comment on the allegations, but claims the party has rejected Mr Moyies’s complaint.
Mr Moyies resigned as chairman of Ukip’s south Essex branch, along with the secretary and treasurer, after Mr Waterworth’s appointment last month. Mr Waterworth is now acting chairman.
Mr Moyies said: “The candidates have been announced, but sometimes internal processes have to be completed.
“Sometimes there is a process that can be challenged. There is a good chance of that.
“I hope to vote Ukip, but it depends on who the candidate is. I will makemy decision based on the individual, not on the party they represent.
“Just because someone represents a party doesn’t mean they should get your vote without thinking about it.
“The chairman of the local branch needs to be prepared to work really hard to get the selected candidate elected in May. I felt it was inappropriate for me to continue that role.
“At the moment we are going through growing pains and I hope the party makes the correct decisions to ensure we continue to grow as we have done through a strong committee over the past six years.”
Ukip’s head office declined to comment.