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.”
The revelation is damaging for UKIP chief Nigel Farage, who tries to present his party as a ‘people’s army’ which does not indulge in typical Westminster spin
Ukip chiefs hired a City barrister to keep “bad stuff” hidden from the public, leaked documents show.
National executive committee meeting minutes from June 2013 detail how Matthew Richardson became Ukip secretary.
They state Mr Richardson’s role as party secretary would be deciding “whether to take injunctions out” when Ukip is criticised in the media.
And they suggest the party may have skeletons in the closet which he has been tasked to hide.
The minutes state: “We need to ensure all of the bad stuff is kept out of the public domain.
“As party secretary (Mr Richardson) would try to ensure that we keep a tight reign on things.”
The revelation is damaging for Ukip chief Nigel Farage, who tries to present his party as a ‘people’s army’ which does not indulge in typical Westminster spin.
UKIP has been repeatedly rocked by a series of offensive comments from candidates, councillors and supporters – but claims it wants members to be free to speak their minds.
Labour’s shadow solicitor general Karl Turner said: “This is typical of a party which pretends to be one thing, but in reality is something else altogether.
“Ukip shouldn’t need a top lawyer to stop their members making offensive remarks – they just need to stop making them.”
The leaked minutes are taken from a meeting of UKIP’s national executive committee in June 2013.
The party’s top officials discussed the need for a top lawyer to be “actively involved” in its media operation.
“We will face some tough times and need to decide whether to take injunctions out or not,” the minutes state.
Mr Richardson was then introduced to the committee as the chosen nomination for the party secretary role.
The lawyer told the members he “specialises in online reputation management”.
The minutes then show party chairman Steve Crowther complained that “work must be done in dealing with what our members publish”.
And Mr Richardson agreed “that the party in general must get a grip on this”.
The committee unanimously agreed to approve Mr Richardson’s appointment at the end of the meeting.
He could not be reached personally for a comment last night.
But a Ukip spokeswoman said: “Like all other parties we have a party secretary to manage legal and political affairs.
“No injunctions have ever been used.”
John Rees-Evans has joined the ranks of Ukip members whose comments are attracting more attention than the party would like
“Just don’t,” Ukip’s chairman, Steve Crowther, recently told party members tempted to express odd views on Twitter. In the light of a “Gay donkey tried to rape my horse” headline generated by a Ukip candidate in Cardiff, Crowther should probably tell them to avoid being filmed on YouTube too.
The culprit was John Rees-Evans, Ukip’s candidate in Cardiff South and Penarth, who produced his bizarre claim on Saturday in an exchange with protesters outside a new campaign office Ukip has opened in Merthyr Tydfil.
Ironically, Rees-Evans unveiled his contribution to the list of wacky Ukip quotes when he was being asked to respond to some of the most controversial things that Ukip members have said in the past. What about the claim from the chair of a Ukip branch that “some homosexuals prefer sex with animals”?
“Actually, I’ve witnessed that,” Rees-Evans replied in an apparent attempt at humour, prompting a burst of hilarity among the protesters.
“I was personally quite amazed,” he told them. “I’ve got a horse and it was there in the field. And a donkey came up, which was male, and I’m afraid tried to rape my horse.”
So, in this case, whoever made the original claim was “obviously correct” because in this case a “homosexual donkey” was attracted to a horse, Rees-Evans said, in an exchange that was videoed and has been posted on YouTube.
The would-be MP, who runs a tour company taking travellers to east Africa, told the Guardian on Monday: “It is not as though I was making a serious point. I was simply answering a question, rather than telling the person that he was ridiculous for raising it.
“I was asked to respond to quite a bizarre statement, and it’s my view that British people are fed up with politicians evading uncomfortable questions and so I tried to give the only kind of answer I knew how to give because, frankly, I do not have any experience of homosexuality, or humans copulating with animals. So the closest match, from my personal experience, was the case of what appeared to be homosexuality with animals.”
Rees-Evans’s tale may be judged naive, but he conceded that “some people who do have connections with Ukip do say some outrageous things from time to time” and that this was probably related to the nature of the party.
“The reality is that, when you have a party that does not have a whipping system, where politicians fear being disciplined for saying the wrong thing, inevitably you will have quite a diversity of personal opinion,” he said.
David Cameron once dismissed Ukip as “fruitcakes, lunatics and closet racists, mostly” and there is a long history of Ukip figures having to stand down after making offensive comments. The “some homosexuals prefer sex with animals” claim was made by Julia Gasper, who stood down as chair of the Oxford branch after it was revealed last year.
Godfrey Bloom, a former Ukip MEP, sparked outrage by complaining about aid being sent to “bongo bongo land”. A Ukip councillor was suspended last year for sharing offensive material on Facebook about Muslims, and only recently Kerry Smith stood down as a Ukip candidate in South Basildon and East Thurrock after being recorded mocking gay party members as “poofters” and referring to someone as a “Chinky bird”.
Rees-Evans said that, in his experience, when Ukip members said things that were genuinely unacceptable, the party got rid of them.
But some extremist Ukip comments are better classified as bonkers than offensive. The most notorious of these was the claim by David Silvester, a town councillor in Henley, that last winter’s storms and floods were divine punishment for gay marriage. Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, responded by saying that no one had complained about Silvester’s views when he was a member of the Conservative party.
Another category of Ukip “gaffe” has involved party members expressing views that may have once been considered mainstream, but are now widely considered reactionary, such as a Ukip MEP’s remark that women do not have the ambition to get to the top “because babies get in the way”. Farage has repeatedly stumbled into this territory himself, for example with his recent complaint about “ostentatious” breastfeeding.
Rees-Evans said Ukip had to decide whether it wanted its members to continue to be allowed to speak out or whether it should exercise more discipline.
“Ukip is essentially at a crossroads, in the sense that it can go two ways,” he said. “It can either say look, sadly, you guys are going to have to shut up and avoid answering questions, or crack on, answer questions honestly.
“We will occasionally get into trouble but we would prefer to have that kind of libertarian ethos in the party that allows you to say whatever you think.”
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.
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.
The knives are out for a leading UKIP spokesman if certain sections of the right wing press are to be believed.
Patrick O’Flynn MEP, one time Daily Express political hack and now UKIP economics spokesman has made large numbers of enemies during his short spell in the Eurosceptic party.
The hard right within UKIP (there are quite a few) want to return to the days of Margaret Thatcher, with low taxes along with slashing benefits to the very core.
O’Flynn upset this section of the party after he revealed at the UKIP conference in September that he wanted to raise income tax and introduce a luxury tax, the latter horrified UKIP leader Nigel Farage and he quickly distanced himself from the speech.
At the chairman’s conference dinner, O’Flynn was openly mocked by large sections of those present, much to the obvious embarrassment of O’Flynn and amusement of Farage.
Since then, senior members of UKIP have attempted to have O’Flynn removed from his post, labelling him a “pinko” with several letters being penned to the poisonous party chairman Steve Crowther, calling for his dismissal.
Is O’Flynn finished? Let’s hope so….
AT UKIP Llanelli’s November meeting, a Llanelli Star reporter was asked to leave by Chairman Barry Clark.
It had been made clear in advertising for the meeting that members of the public were welcome. A reporter from the Star had been specifically asked to attend by local activists.
Mr Clark had spoken to the Star’s reporter, Steffan Storch, and handed him a copy of the agenda before the start of the meeting. But later, once Steffan took out his notepad, Mr Clark asked if he was a reporter and asked him to leave once he had confirmed that he was.
Today, Mr Clark said: “I asked Steffan to leave because we weren’t allowing journalists, but the public was welcome.”
Answering claims, from within the party, that he had stormed out of the meeting and resigned his position, he said: “I did leave early but I did not resign my position.”
Mr Clark refused to give any comment regarding the content of the meeting, but it is expected that much of the discussion revolved around the selection and rapid de-selection of James Cole as UKIP’s general election candidate for Llanelli.
At a previous meeting of 28 UKIP Llanelli members, the motion to adopt ex-military Swansea businessman Mr Cole as the candidate got 18 votes in favour. Mr Clark, not allowing any non-committee members to verify the count, declared Mr Cole the candidate – despite being one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed.
A complaint from within Llanelli UKIP was taken to the top of the party, with national UKIP chairman Steve Crowther – 3rd in command after leader Nigel Farage and Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall – ruling the vote invalid the following evening.
There was a strong reaction among Twitter users in Llanelli and further afield. Plaid Cymru candidate for Llanelli, Vaughan Williams, said: “Aren’t you a member of the public? Bizarre.”
Later adding: “In all seriousness to Steffan. Journalists ARE members of the public! why ask Steffan to leave?”
@SteffanStorch @LlanelliStar Aren’t you a member of the public? Bizarre.
— Vaughan Williams (@Vaughan_Wms) November 5, 2014
@SteffanStorch @LlanelliStar In all seriousness to Steffan. Journalists ARE members of the public! why ask Steffan to leave?
— Vaughan Williams (@Vaughan_Wms) November 5, 2014
Gareth Thomas of Llanelli asked: “What do they have to hide?”
@SteffanStorch @LlanelliStar what have they to hide???
— Gareth Thomas (@gazzamagic78) November 5, 2014
A spokesman for UKIP at national level said: “The meeting on the 5 November was a Branch Meeting and Branches are well within their rights to decide who is able to attend.”