UKIP’s chairman in Scotland Arthur Thackeray reveals party spies on opponents

Misty Thackeray

Misty Thackeray

UKIP in Scotland has revealed it is using a variety of undercover measures to spy on its opponents.

The party’s chairman north of the border Arthur Thackeray has made the shock revelations that private investigators were hired during the independence referendum and that protest groups against the party were “infiltrated”.

And Thackeray described UKIP’s network as “‘a very good intelligence service” adding that the activities will “most definitely” continue ahead of May’s General Election.

Thackeray, a former security firm boss, said the party has recruited private investigation industry contacts to monitor anti-Ukip protest groups;

And to throw opponents off the scent, he revealed that “spotters” used to infiltrate anti-UKIP protest groups are being recruited from the Polisgh community – because it was felt they were the last people the mob would expect to be working for UKIP.

‘Decoy’ events have been set up by Ukip to take protesters away from the proper venues;

Thackeray himself said he went undercover himself at a Radical Independence Campaign event.

Opponents of then part have branded the tactics as “sinister”.

The security measures have been adopted in Scotland since UK leader Nigel Farage had to be locked in an Edinburgh pub last year to protect him from an angry mob.

Thackeray was a director of his own group of companies ‘in the security and private investigations industry’ before becoming Ukip Scotland chairman and chief of staff to Ukip MEP David Coburn.

He told the Mail on Sunday: “It is safe to say that we have a very good intelligence service within the party now. We keep tabs on everything that’s happening with our opponents. You’ll appreciate from my background I have a network of people who have a range of skills. They’re quite happy to do the job.

“For our members, representatives and certainly for Nigel when he’s in town, safety is important.”

Last year Farage was confronted with around 50 protestors at the Canons’ Gait pub in central Edinburgh, some allegedly chanting “racist Nazi scum” and “Go home to England”.

Farage had to be rescued by police.

it is thought that incident led to the party re-assessing its security measures.

“Decoy” events have been set up to lure protestors away from real events and Thackeray himself and a private eye went undercover at a Radical Independence Campaign event.

He added:”As someone who’s done a lot of covert work in my time, it was nothing. For the remainder of the campaign, every time there was an event we went along.”

Groups thought to have been monitored by UKIP include Radical Independence, the Socialist Worker Party, Scottish Socialist Party, United Against Fascism and Stand Up To UKIP.

Asked if undercover operations would continue, Mr Thackeray said: “Most definitely. Whatever we have to do within the law to make sure that safety is maintained we will do.”

These types of activities are not thought to have broken any laws.

An SNP spokesman said: “That UKIP resort to spying on people who disagree with their intolerant agenda is sinister – and shows exactly what kind of party they are.

“We need as many Nationalist MPs as possible elected at the General Election because we can’t afford to have UKIP wielding any more influence at Westminster than they already do.”

Daily Record

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UKIP’s chairman in Scotland Arthur Thackeray reveals party SPIES on opponents

Misty Thackeray

Misty Thackeray

UKIP in Scotland has revealed it is using a variety of undercover measures to spy on its opponents.

The party’s chairman north of the border Arthur Thackeray has made the shock revelations that private investigators were hired during the independence referendum and that protest groups against the party were “infiltrated”.

And Thackeray described UKIP’s network as “‘a very good intelligence service” adding that the activities will “most definitely” continue ahead of May’s General Election.

Thackeray, a former security firm boss, said the party has recruited private investigation industry contacts to monitor anti-Ukip protest groups;

And to throw opponents off the scent, he revealed that “spotters” used to infiltrate anti-UKIP protest groups are being recruited from the Polish community – because it was felt they were the last people the mob would expect to be working for UKIP.

‘Decoy’ events have been set up by Ukip to take protesters away from the proper venues;

Thackeray himself said he went undercover himself at a Radical Independence Campaign event.

Opponents of then part have branded the tactics as “sinister”.

The security measures have been adopted in Scotland since UK leader Nigel Farage had to be locked in an Edinburgh pub last year to protect him from an angry mob.

Thackeray was a director of his own group of companies ‘in the security and private investigations industry’ before becoming Ukip Scotland chairman and chief of staff to Ukip MEP David Coburn.

He told the Mail on Sunday: “It is safe to say that we have a very good intelligence service within the party now. We keep tabs on everything that’s happening with our opponents. You’ll appreciate from my background I have a network of people who have a range of skills. They’re quite happy to do the job.

“For our members, representatives and certainly for Nigel when he’s in town, safety is important.”

Last year Farage was confronted with around 50 protestors at the Canons’ Gait pub in central Edinburgh, some allegedly chanting “racist Nazi scum” and “Go home to England”.

Farage had to be rescued by police.

it is thought that incident led to the party re-assessing its security measures.

“Decoy” events have been set up to lure protestors away from real events and Thackeray himself and a private eye went undercover at a Radical Independence Campaign event.

He added:”As someone who’s done a lot of covert work in my time, it was nothing. For the remainder of the campaign, every time there was an event we went along.”

Groups thought to have been monitored by UKIP include Radical Independence, the Socialist Worker Party, Scottish Socialist Party, United Against Fascism and Stand Up To UKIP.

Asked if undercover operations would continue, Mr Thackeray said: “Most definitely. Whatever we have to do within the law to make sure that safety is maintained we will do.”

These types of activities are not thought to have broken any laws.

An SNP spokesman said: “That UKIP resort to spying on people who disagree with their intolerant agenda is sinister – and shows exactly what kind of party they are.

“We need as many Nationalist MPs as possible elected at the General Election because we can’t afford to have UKIP wielding any more influence at Westminster than they already do.”

Daily Record


Ukip rebels stage alternative rally as crisis-hit party launches Scottish Euro candidate

UKIP Scotland’s European election launch is in chaos, with its top candidate caught up in a double-job row and a rival faction in the divided party holding a separate rally.

David Coburn, who will be introduced as the party’s Euro hopeful at the launch in Glasgow today, was recently confirmed as a Westminster candidate 350 miles away in a London borough.

The event is also likely to be hamstrung by party rebels staging an alternative bash for Ukip members in Stirling.

The anti-European Union party has recorded electoral victories in England but enjoyed little success north of the Border.

Ukip desperately wants to return an MEP from Scotland in May’s election, but a civil war is tearing the party to shreds.

Six of the nine shortlisted candidates in Ukip’s internal selection withdrew before ballot papers were sent following a bout of infighting.

Ukip pushed ahead with the vote and the contest was won by Coburn, who until recently was the party’s London chair.

His candidacy will be the focal point of Ukip’s election launch this afternoon in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.

However, Coburn is facing questions over his commitment to Scotland. It can be revealed that the Glasgow-educated businessman is also Ukip’s Westminster candidate for Bexleyheath & Crayford in 2015.

The branch website confirmed his nomination, adding: “David stood for Bexley and Old Sidcup at the last election and vowed to stand in Bexley again. David has been Chairman of the Bexley Branch for four years and has built it into an effective fighting force which will be taking council seats in May with an exciting line-up of enthusiastic candidates.”

With only a 12-month gap between the European and Westminster elections, and a term in Brussels lasting five years, Coburn’s decision leaves open the possibility of him holding two positions.

In his pitch to Ukip Scotland members for the European election, he said getting elected to Brussels would be a stepping stone to ­Westminster.

Today’s launch may be sparsely attended by Ukip Scotland members, who have been invited to a separate event 25 miles away.

Until recently, Lord Monckton was party leader north of the Border, while Mike Scott-Hayward and Peter Adams were respectively chair and regional organiser. All are deemed party moderates.

However, Monckton was fired recently, and Scott-Hayward and Adams resigned shortly after.

The trio have invited Ukip members to Stirling’s Albert Halls to celebrate the party’s 21st birthday. The “historic rally” is scheduled to start 90 minutes before the European launch.

According to the invitation, the event is billed as “Learning from yesterday, partying today, planning for tomorrow”.

It starts with a “welcome” by Monckton, followed by Scott-Hayward talking about “the past year”. Ex-chair Paul Henke is also due to speak, as is former fundraiser Malcolm Macaskill.

A Ukip source said: “The campaign launch in Glasgow is going to be a farce. Most of the folk with any credibility will be in Stirling, and it also looks like Coburn’s ambitions are in London, not Scotland.”

The source added that “hardliners” had taken over the party. Right-winger Misty Thackeray, who said Glasgow City Council was for “gays, catholics [and] communists”, is currently interim chair.

Thackeray has also described Geert Wilders, the far-right leader of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, as “great”.

Councillor Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens’ lead candidate for the European election, said: “Voters in Scotland will be insulted by an outfit that thinks it can parachute in a London Westminster candidate for an election here. It’s increasingly clear they cannot be taken seriously.

“Ukip has no representation in Scotland and no interest in Scotland and is only being taken seriously as a result of a curious fascination for them elsewhere in the UK. A Scottish Green vote in May is what stands in the way of Ukip being elected in Scotland.”

The Nationalist MEP Alyn Smith said: “It’s always been clear that Ukip are totally irrelevant in Scotland. That they have admitted defeat in the European Parliament elections before the campaign has even begun shows that they know it too.”

Coburn said: “I’ll do what is best to get us out of the European Union.”

Scottish Herald


‘Fatwa’ bans former Ukip chairman from party for 100 years

David Coburn

UKIP Scotland’s former chairman has been suspended from the party for 100 years as a “fatwa” for speaking to the Sunday Herald.

Paul Henke, who had confirmed making a complaint about a colleague to this newspaper, has been barred from the party until his 163rd birthday.

Ukip, the anti-European Union anti-immigration party led by Nigel Farage, has enjoyed electoral success in England and Wales but is in the throes of a civil war north of the Border.

Until late last year, Lord ­Monckton was Ukip Scotland’s leader and Mike Scott-Hayward its chairman. However, the party was plunged into chaos after a trio of members – including former ­by-election candidate Otto Inglis – were suspected of planning a take­over. The infighting came to a head during Ukip Scotland’s internal selection for the European Parliament contest, during which six of the nine shortlisted candidates quit before ballot papers were sent.

David Coburn, who was chairman of Ukip in London, won the contest.

Farage fired Monckton by email and Scott-Hayward quit in a gesture of solidarity with the sacked leader.

The tensions escalated after 10 members signed a complaint against Coburn, in which they alleged he had made various false statements. One of the signatories, 63-year-old Henke, told this newspaper: “I expect the complaint to be investigated properly. I believe Ukip to be an up-front party run by honourable people. We should have honourable people as candidates.”

Days later, national Ukip ­chairman Steve Crowther emailed Henke: “This is to you inform you that I am today suspending your membership of the party for a period of 100 years … As a signatory of the complaint against our Scottish candidate which has been passed to the Sunday Herald, and having given your opinion on that subject to the Sunday Herald last week, you have brought the party into disrepute, and appear to be engaged in deliberately sabotaging our election campaign in Scotland.”

One party source said: “Suspending him for 100 years is like a political fatwa.”

The heavy sanction has prompted Monckton and seven other senior members to write to Crowther demanding the withdrawal of the suspension. They also wrote: “We regret that we must also ask for your immediate resignation as party chairman, on grounds of long-standing prejudice which now oversteps the bounds into malice – a malice that has needlessly brought Ukip into disrepute.”

They also contrasted Henke’s comments to the Sunday Herald with the statements of interim Scottish chairman Misty Thackeray, who said Glasgow City Council was for “gays, Catholics [and] communists”. They wrote: “Why have you not suspended him from membership for 100,000 years?”

Responding to Monckton, Crowther stated in an email: “Paul [Henke] initiated the complaint, and so is responsible for its appearance in the Sunday Herald. This self-indulgent nonsense must stop.”

Ukip had hoped to win a seat in Scotland in May’s Brussels election, but senior figures believe the chances are now slim.

Henke declined to comment.

Ukip was contacted for comment but failed to respond.


Herald Scotland


Party chair challenged over ‘backing’ for BNP

Misty Thackeray

Misty Thackeray

UKIP Scotland’s interim chair has denied signing a petition supporting a football steward sacked for standing as a British National Party candidate.

The name of “Arthur Misty Thackeray”, Ukip’s top official north of the Border, appeared on the petition but he denied all knowledge of the steward.

The Sunday Herald last week revealed that Thackeray had made a series of offensive posts on Facebook on religion.

In 2011, he wrote: “Real Catholicism and Real Islamism are far from antagonists with both having an outwardly benign image but inwardly sharing a fascist ideology of extreme submissive conservatism and imperialism …”

He also took aim at Holyrood: “[T]here’s more chance of winning the lottery two weeks running than getting an openly Rangers-supporting MSP into the chamber of the institutionally catholicised pretendy parliament .. lol.” Thackeray, who works in the security industry, also made claims about Glasgow City Council’s policy on marches: “No wonder the blue half of my city say G.C.C actually stands for the Glasgow Celtic Council for Gays Catholics Communists eh.lol. NS!”

The comments prompted Jonathan Stanley, a senior Ukip member in Scotland, to urge him to attend an anti-sectarianism course.

Thackeray is now facing questions over an online petition about a steward who was sacked by Middlesbrough FC due to far-right political activity. The petition was started by a one-time BNP candidate and read: “We the undersigned petition Middlesbrough Football Club to reverse their decision in sacking Barry Towers for standing in the local council elections for the British National Party.”

The name Arthur Misty Thackeray is on the petition, as are more than 200 other names.

SNP MEP Alyn Smith said: “Mr Thackeray needs to answer questions on why his name appeared on this petition. The people of Scotland have a proud tradition of supporting justice and tolerance; it is for this reason that Ukip will continue to be rejected at the polls north of the Border.”

Thackeray said: “The only Barry Towers I’m aware of is a high-rise block in Wales.”

He said the suggestion he had signed the petition was “ridiculous”, adding: “I am well aware a Walter Mitty character is feeding misinformation to anti-Ukip and pro-separation media outlets to demonise and destabilise myself and the party.”

Herald Scotland


UKIP civil war flares again in row over Euro candidate

David Coburn

The UKIP Scotland civil war has intensified after 10 party members made a complaint about their top European candidate for allegedly making a series of false statements.

David Coburn, who topped Ukip’s Brussels list for Scotland in controversial circumstances, stands accused of falsely claiming that leader Nigel Farage asked him to stand. The written complaint also alleges that Coburn had described himself as the party’s “Scottish spokesman” when he was not.

Ukip, a party opposed to the EU and mass immigration, has enjoyed success south of the Border and is tipped to be the big winner in May’s election for the European Parliament.

The party was also hoping to win an MEP’s seat in Scotland but the vicious infighting is undermining its efforts.

Until recently, the Scottish party was led by Lord Monckton and chaired by Mike Scott-Hayward. However, both they and other figures believed a Ukip faction – including former candidate Otto Inglis – was planning a coup.

The divisions flared up during Ukip’s internal contest to select candidates for the European election.

Six of the shortlisted candidates, including Monckton and Scott-Hayward, quit the race in protest at the tactics allegedly used by Inglis.

However, the party pushed ahead with the ballot and Coburn, Ukip’s London chair, topped the poll.

Ten Ukip Scotland figures – including Scott-Hayward, one-time fundraiser Malcolm Macaskill and another senior figure, Paul Henke – have now signed an official complaint against Coburn. The letter includes several allegations.

The complaint alleges Coburn “falsely stated” that “Nigel Farage had asked him to put his name forward for MEP selection in Scotland”.

They also allege that Coburn falsely denied making the claim about Farage.

During the recent industrial dispute between Ineos and trade union Unite, the complainants allege Coburn put out a statement in which he “falsely stated” that he was Ukip’s “Scottish spokesman”.

The Glasgow-born candidate has also been accused of falsely saying on television that the six candidates resigned because they did not like the result of the ballot. The 10 members claim these alleged statements amount to breaches of the Ukip constitution and rules.

Following the disputed internal poll, Farage sacked Monckton by email and Scott-Hayward resigned as chair. Misty Thackeray, who is on the right of the party, is now interim chair.

Hencke told the Sunday Herald: “I expect the complaint to be investigated properly. I believe Ukip to be an up-front party run by honourable people. We should have honourable people as candidates.”

The trouble comes after Farage suffered arguably his worst week as party leader. Ukip was forced to suspend an Oxfordshire councillor after he blamed flooding on the decision to legalise gay marriage, while Farage was also criticised for backing an end to the ban on handguns, and saying that women who had children were worth less to City firms.

“We need a proper gun-licensing system which, to a large extent, we already have and I think the ban on handguns is ludicrous,” he said.

He also opened fire at his party’s own manifesto from 2010, saying: “It was drivel, 486 pages of drivel. I didn’t read it … it was a nonsense, and we’ve put that behind us and moved on to a professional footing.”

SNP MEP Alyn Smith said: “Ukip are a total farce and barely exist as a party in Scotland – a fact confirmed by their abysmal showing at the Cowdenbeath by-election where, yet again, in a Scottish election they failed even to hold on to their deposit.”

A UKIP spokesman said: “We have not received said complaint but when we do we will process it according to the party’s rules.”

Herald Scotland


Ukip Sends Scottish Chairman Arthur Thackeray for Counselling Over ‘Gays, Catholics and Communists’

Misty Thackeray

Misty Thackeray



A senior figure in Ukip has been told to seek counselling over sectarian rants by his own party.

Arthur Thackeray, the interim chairman of the EU-phobic party in Scotland, has been told to get help after he was accused of spouting bigoted views in a series of inflammatory online posts.

Thackeray laid into Glasgow city council by accusing it of being run by homosexuals and Catholics – who engaged in a conspiracy to keep out different voices, he apparently suggested.

Thackeray, a councillor in Glasgow’s Wellhouse and Queenslie ward, tapped into deep-seated sectarian tensions between Protestants and Catholics in Scotland’s second city with his comments.

According to the Herald, Thackeray said: “There’s more chance of winning the lottery two weeks running than getting an openly Rangers-supporting MSP into the chamber of the institutionally catholicised pretendy parliament … lol.”

Blasting Glasgow City Council, Thackeray continued: “No wonder the blue half of my city say GCC ­actually stands for the Glasgow Celtic Council for gays Catholics Communists eh. Lol. NS!”

As a result, Thackeray has been instructed to get helped from a charity called Nil by Mouth, which campaigns against sectarianism in Scotland. It has yet to agree to the request from Ukip’s head of policy, John Stanley.

A Nil by Mouth spokesman said: “We’ve received a request from Ukip in London for its ­Scottish branch to engage with our ­sectarianism awareness programme.

“We will give this request due consideration should the ­Scottish branch follow up this contact.”

Condemning Thackeray’s online outburst, Ukip’s own LGBT wing welcomed Stanley’s therapy instruction – and called on the chairman to consider his position.

Thomas Booker told IBTimes UK: “I think that if he is hostile to homosexuals and sees same-sex people as in opposition to him, then he needs to reconsider his position in the party. I will always defend people’s right to freedom of speech but saying things which are against the party’s beliefs is intolerable.

“These comments are not helpful and we can see that [Ukip’s head of policy in Scotland] John Stanley has reacted very quickly which is good to see, by himself ordering Thackeray to go along to some of counselling sessions at the charity.”

Thackeray’s comments, which appeared in 2011 but have only just come to light, is the latest gaffe by members of Nigel Farage’s right-wing party.

Last week Farage announced a purge of “barmy” members – only to be engulfed in fresh controversy when a councillor in England blamed UK floods on new gay marriage laws.

Thackeray did not respond to requests for comment from IBTimes UK.

IBTimes