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.”