North of the border, UKIP’s civil war refuses to go away and the feud has now cost the party at least £30,000 in legal fees according to The Daily Record Newspaper.
Paul Henke, UKIP’s former Scottish chairman was given a 100 year suspension by UKIP chairman Steve Crowther after Henke and a number of other UKIP members signed a letter which refused to accept the appointment of London based David Coburn as the party’s Scottish candidate in the European elections.
UKIP decided that Paul Henke had brought the party into disrepute and claimed that Henke along with others intended to sabotage the UKIP campaign in Scotland.
Henke contested the decision and successfully took the party to court, with a decision being made at the Central London County Court ordering the xenophobic party to lift the suspension on their former Scottish chairman.
UKIP wrote to Henke informing him that he had been accepted back into the party with no blemishes on his record and no stains on his character.
The Judge ordered that UKIP pay most of Henke’s court costs, thought to be in the region of £30,000 and refused UKIP permission to appeal the decision or the award of costs.
Henke has also lodged a damages claim for £4,000 which has still to be heard at court.
With a standard UKIP membership costing £30, I make that 1,000 UKIP membership fees wasted by Crowther and UKIP in their quest to silence their own internal critics.
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.”
An outgoing Ukip chairman who in personal correspondence advocated the termination of foetuses with Down’s syndrome and also that the UK should break from the EU “by force of arms if necessary” has resigned from the party after being thanked for his contribution, which a branch spokesperson said: “allowed Ukip to grow and prosper in this region.”
John Upex, the former chairman of Ukip’s Harrogate & Knaresborough Association and parliamentary candidate, made the comments in letters to Conservative MP Mr Andrew Jones.
His resignation came after Mr Jones responded to a four page advert that Mr Upex had taken out in a local paper, copying in the executive chairman of the Ukip branch and quoting some of Mr Upex’s views.
Mr Jones’ letter included a number of controversial views he insisted the Ukip parliamentary candidate had held in letters to Mr Jones over the years. As The Independent’s Andy McSmith notes in his diary, this included a statement: “if there is to be a blood-letting in this country, there are a lot of people who would be candidates for my supply of piano wire.” The comments referred to a possible civil war over the EU. Piano wire has been used as a silent garotte to kill people since World War II.
However Mr Upex told The Independent his remarks had been taken out wildly of context, adding “this is a complete travesty.”
He said: “Mr Jones accuses me of Eugenics. This is a complete travesty. My view is that abortion is a necessary but not very pleasant evil. With current medical science where do you draw the line? My personal view is that up to nine weeks is OK but later than that, I couldn’t do it. In cases like Downs Syndrome or Spina Bifida, I know children in that state and it is horrible for everyone. In cases like that termination might be the best thing.”
Additionally he wished to clarify remarks about the UK breaking from the EU by force, saying “Before Ukip we had three parties that had no difference. We are in exactly the same situation as the Eastern Bloc countries before the Berlin Wall came down. You could either choose as communist or a communist. If that’s the case you can’t deny the population the right to rise. As a country, we have endorsed, intervened, aided and armed people in the same situation.”
Ukip’s Harrogate & Knaresborough Association released the following statement, saying “We have accepted the resignation of its chairman, John Upex, following a difference of opinion of views and policies.In addition, Mr Upex will stand down as the Party’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the 2015 general election.A branch spokesman said: “We would like to thank John for his contribution over the last few years which has allowed UKIP to grow and prosper in this region.”
However Mr Upex admitted that Mr Jones letter and his own resignation “were not unconnected” adding that Ukip’s rise in popularity meant the game had changed and that it was now more of a corporate entity, “playing in the midfield.”
His comments are supported by Nigel Farage’s own remarks. He told the The Times earlier in January that he wanted to continue to “professionalise” the party ahead of polling and suggested that some candidates must curb their eccentric views.
His comments came after Oxfordshire councillor David Silvester claimed that the recent floods had been God’s punishment for new gay marriage laws. However since then, Ukip has been deluged with further embarrassment.
Ukip MEP Gerard Batten has been urged to clarify his remarks after he called for British Muslims to sign a special code of conduct that would reject violence and “re-examine and address the meaning and application” of the Qur’an.
The revelations about Batten came the same day that Ukip leaders distanced the party from Mujeeb ur Rehman Bhutto, its former Commonwealth spokesman, who was revealed by BBC Newsnight to have once been part of a kidnapping gang.
On Wednesday Ukip banned their former Scottish chairman Paul Henke for 100 years for bringing the party into ‘disrepute’ and ‘deliberately sabotaging’ their election campaign in Scotland. He had spoken to a Scottish Sunday newspaper to raise concerns about another party member.
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.
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.”