so it looks as if theThe Infighting has moves up a gear in Ukip with an over threat by Nigel Farage, who is still clearly the defacto leader of Ukip, to his puppet placement Paul_Nuttall that ‘if his long term supporter and bagman Paul Nuttall fails to achieve what Nigel Farage himself failed to do in 23 years, mostly in leadership or with puppets like Roger Knapmann, Malcolm Pearson and the like – Paul Nuttall is finished’.
Nigel Farage is threatening Paul Nuttall with the boot if he fails to get MPs elected to Westminster when he stood himself 7 times and never came anywhere near election and the only GE achievement was to have the Tory defector Douglas Carswell hang onto his Tory support as an MP who was Ukip by name but NEVER toed the Ukip line.
After Paul Nuttall’s humiliating defeat in Stoke how can you expect to get this sad little man with his faux CV and implusible claims to lead anything much more complex than a rubber duck on a string around a bath!
So Paul Nuttall has effectively been given his marching orders boots and all – what then? Will Nigel Farage, who is still Ukip’s leader in the EU and effective leader on a defacto basis in the UK be returning as leader or will it just be an embarrassing list of nebishes – I have a feeling Tiny Tim Farron will be looking for a job too so perhaps he will consider leading Ukip for a few weeks as a succession of others have!
Already Ukip’s candidates for the May election are reduced by at least half relative to the last time and just who do they have who has the stature or competence to be an MP? They are bereft of leadership, have no backer or even backers of any note and have a bunch of largely squabbling clowns as MEPs – I should also remind you that they are still under investigation over 100s of £1,000s of fraudulently squandered public money – possibly even £Millions by both OLAF and now I understand the British authorities, corrupt as they have been proven to be in the past, relative to Ukip, are also investigating.
I gather Ukip is under suspicion of links to Russian funding and there is even talk that they may well be involved with Trump staff not just in Russian funding but also under investigation relative to the Rico Act – The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law!
I do tend to believe that Paul Nuttall is not alone in being way out of his depth!
Nigel Farage piles the pressure on Ukip leader Paul Nuttall by giving him just SIX WEEKS to prove himself – or face being booted out the top job
Mr Farage said the General Election will be a verdict on the party’s leadership
His warning comes after a period of bitter in-fighting and electoral flops in Ukip
Mr Nutall has said the party hopes to win a handful of sets on June 8
UKip could be on its fourth leader in a year if Mr Nuttall is ousted
Published: 09:53, 20 April 2017 | Updated: 10:35, 20 April 2017
Nigel Farage has piled the pressure on Ukip leader Paul Nuttall by warning he has six weeks to ‘prove himself’ in the top job or face being booted out.
The MEP said he would ‘work closely’ with and ‘support fully’ the man who holds his old job, but warned the General Election would be a verdict on his leadership.
It means the crisis-hit party could get its fourth leader in less than a year if Mr Nuttall fails to make good on his pledge to win a ‘handful’ of seats in the June 8 election.
Nigel Farage has warned that Paul Nuttall has just six weeks to prove himself as Ukip leader or face being ousted form the top job
And Mr Farage said he is still deciding whether to run for Parliament for an eighth time.
Asked about his verdict on Mr Nuttall’s leadership, told BBC’s Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: ‘He’s got six weeks to prove himself, hasn’t he?’
He added: ‘Paul has walked into this job and I guess he’s probably been shocked at how tough it is.
‘But he now realises exactly what he’s facing and I think he’ll come through very strongly.’
Mr Nuttall has faced fierce criticism amid bitter in-fighting in his party.
He was left personally humiliated when he failed to be elected to the ‘Brexit capital’ of Stoke-on-Trent earlier this year after running a scandal-hit campaign.
Meanwhile, Mr Farage said he is still mulling over whether to stand again in South Thanet when Britain goes to the polls this summer.
But he insisted that he would win if he threw his hat in the ring, saying:’I think I would, yes,’
He said he will make up his mind in the next couple of days.
Mr Farage has been making the most of his time since stepping down as Ukip leader. As well as striking up a close friendship with US President Donald Trump he has been posting holiday snaps, including this one of him catching Bluefin Tuna in the Adriatic Sea
He said: ‘I haven’t decided yet. I have got to weigh it up.
‘I’m still leading a group in the European Parliament where, of course, ultimately there will be a veto over the whole Brexit deal and where the negotiations will take place over the next two years and I’ve got to weigh up where am I best to be in terms of having an impact on Brexit and perhaps warning the British public that it’s not going in the direction it should be.’
Mr Farage suggested he lost in South Thanet in 2015 ‘perhaps in circumstances that weren’t entirely fair but we’ll let the Crown Prosecution Service decide about that’ following claims the Conservatives breached election spending limits.
The CPS is said to be considering bringing charges against 30 people over the elections expenses scandal.
The former Ukip leader insisted voters should back his party to ensure there was a ‘strong’ voice holding Theresa May to account.
‘This Prime Minister gives fabulous speeches,’ he said. ‘She uses words and phrases that I have been using and have been condemned for 20 years.
‘It all sounds wonderful. When she was home secretary, remember, she was going to reduce immigration. Did she? Not a bit of it.’
Ukip is fourth in the polls, lagging behind the Lib Dems. Leader Paul Nuttall says he wants to win a handful of seats in the vote
At the turn of the year, the SKWAWKBOX revealed that UKIP was under investigation by the European Commission’s anti-fraud unit OLAF for huge alleged fraud of up to €20 million – and in relation to child pornography allegations – an investigation on a far larger scale than the already-proven charges pictured above.
This was dismissed by some at the time as ‘fake news’, but a month later some of the mainstream media ‘broke‘ news of the investigation as well.
One of the witnesses in the investigation recently contacted OLAF for an update on their investigation and received a reply that hints that the initial scope of inquiries may gave become even larger:
While, rightly, carefully couched in language to protect the presumption of innocence, the email does give away some significant information and hints at potential interesting developments.
OLAF’s investigation was originally scheduled to report on 12 February this year, but the email confirms that it is still continuing. This would suggest that investigators have found a lot more relevant evidence than they were anticipating – and perhaps that UKIP are not co-operating, which fits with reports alleging that various offices were shredding documents in a panicked attempt to destroy evidence.
The investigator also mentions ‘possible ensuing investigations‘ as a reason for her refusal to give a more substantial update.
An investigation that is still ongoing a full two months after its report was due – and a hint of further investigations spinning off from it. This may suggest that the investigation into UKIP has opened up questions about the wider extreme-right network across Europe.
This would fit with reports received by this blog, but not yet substantiated, that the raid on Marine le Pen’s Front National headquarters in France was in some way connected to the UKIP investigation:
Certainly the reason given for the raid – an investigation into ‘fake jobs’ – bears a strong resemblance to the allegations against UKIP, which include claims that salaries were claimed for non-existent staff as well as for employees engaged entirely in non-qualifying work for UKIP.
A wider investigation would also fit neatly with the recent ‘disarray‘ of the right-wing, UKIP-led Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europefollowing the walk-out of its Executive Director, after the group was found guilty by the EU of ‘misspending’ over €500,000 – including a significant amount on Nigel Farage’s 2015 attempt to be elected as an MP.
Discussions with this blog’s sources are ongoing and the SKWAWKBOX has also contacted Ms Fober to arrange a conversation about the state of the investigation and its wider links, which may yield further useful information after the Easter break.
Let us also remember that Ukip’a new, so called, leader Paul Nuttall has actually conceded the fact that he squandered £99,000 on his failed ambition to get elected in Stoke – in the by-election for a seat at Westminster as an MP – a challenge he totally failed to achieve, largely due to his personality and a string of PR disasters which led many amongst his electorate to believe he was utterly untrustworthy, lacked leadership ability and was most probably an outright and deliberate liar.
It is also worthy of note that Ukip has no financial backer of any consequence and the £99K or at least a substantial part of ity may well also have been sourced illicitly from the public purse via the EU!
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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BOURNEMOUTH’S sole Ukip councillor has joined the Conservative Party, increasing their majority to 50.
Cllr Laurence Fear, elected to represent the purple-ribboned Eurosceptic party in Kinson South in 2015, said he believed that with Brexit accomplished he could do more for residents as a member of the ruling group.
“Over the last year of increased and necessary cooperation with the grassroots of the Conservative Party I have built many productive and fruitful relationships,” said Cllr Fear, who was elected aged 21.
“During this time I have found that since the triggering of Article 50, that my beliefs are closer to that of the Conservative Party and that I can be more effective as a Conservative Party member in furthering the needs of the residents in my ward.
“I would like to thank my residents for their continued support and I wish to assure them that the principles I was elected on shall not change.”
He praised his former party for their “indispensable contribution” to Brexit, adding: “It has been an honour”.
A member of UKIP for seven years, Cllr Fear also predicted that it would be “quite hard” for the party in Dorset in future.
Perhaps surprisingly, the vice-chairman of UKIP Bournemouth West Martin Houlden seemed to agree.
“We have been very proud and lucky to have had such a hard working councillor as Laurence, and I know he will continue to do his absolute best for his residents,” he said.
Asked about Cllr Fear’s comments he said: “I think there is probably an element of truth to that, but I wouldn’t write us off totally just yet, especially in the north of England.”
He said UKIP was “one of the most successful parties in history”, and on whether it will field candidates in Bournemouth at the next election he said: “We will cross that bridge when we come to it.
“There are always a lot of people interested in becoming a councillor. We have to make sure they are genuinely committed to us.”
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns welcomed the news. He said: “I have seen the energy Laurence brings to representing the people of Kinson South and am therefore delighted he will be putting that energy at the disposal of the Conservative Party.”
David Sidwick, chairman of Bournemouth West Conservative Association, said: “We are a broad church as a party and anyone that espouses our new vision for Britain, outside the EU but within Europe as a global nation is welcome.
“The triggering of Article 50 has in many ways removed the raison d’etre for UKIP and those of its members that feel they are at heart Conservatives are more than welcome to join us.”
Council and Conservative group leader John Beesley today said he was “delighted” Cllr Fear had crossed over.
“Now that the Prime Minister triggered Article 50, Laurence has decided to leave UKIP and join the Conservative Party,” he said.
“I know that he will find a warm welcome with the Conservatives and that his principles will be reflected through our policies both locally here in Bournemouth and nationally in government.
“This council will continue to do all it can in serving the residents of Kinson South, with Laurence as the third member of the Conservative team in the ward he was elected to serve.
“Members of the Conservative group on Bournemouth council will have the opportunity to endorse Laurence as a member of the group at their next meeting on Monday, April 24.”
it seems Ukip’s collapse is now inevitable after their abject failure in the Stoke by-election despite squandering £99,000 on a hopeless, hapless and risible candidate – that Ukip’s leaders sequentially resigned and their candidates dropped out, with the loss of their primary backer and donations in collapse with no credible leader and their only MP, the turncoat Tory, defecting and Mark Reckless, Douglas Carswell and a slew of councillors defecting or standing down we now see Ukip’s contention for seats in the upcoming May election in freefall.
Ukip’s challenge for seats in May is down below half the numbers they contested last time, in fact their challenge has fallen behind even that of the implausible, near leaderless and largely discreditted Greens!
In real terms with Ukip ever more a political joke it is time for them to try to take the high ground in the pretence that they delivered BreXit, a contention which does not sustain much scruting, their claim would be less challenged if they withdrew from politics having largely failed in domestic policies before they become yet more of a laughing stock, befouling what little credibility they can sustain amongst the gullible.
Of the some 19,000 electable offices in British politics at their high water mark under Nigel Farage’s control his party fell short of 200 office holders 150 of whom were councillors at various levels and one turncoat Tory was elected as an MP
bereft of Arron Banks’ ego and dubious funding and with the one man band leadership
It seems likely that Ukip could well end up with around 50 council seats zero MPs and around half the MEPs they originally had elected after the May elections, with even Tim Farron’s risible little clique gaining greater credibility than Ukip.
Ukip Overtaken By Green Party In Number Of Council Seats Contested, New Figures Show
UKIP will contest fewer council seats than the Green Party in the coming May elections in England, new figures have revealed.
In what critics will see as fresh evidence of the ‘post-Brexit vote blues’ for Paul Nuttall’s party, it will stand candidates in just 48% of wards, a dramatic slump from the 73% it fought just four years ago.
The Greens, in contrast, will put up candidates in 53.9% of wards, up significantly on their 37% showing in 2013.
Across all seats up for grabs in the County Councils, unitary authorities and Doncaster, the Tories and Labour are roughly at the same level of candidates this time around, final nomination papers have revealed.
The Conservatives will contest 96% of all seats, and Labour will contest 91%.
The Lib Dems – who last fought the elections while in coalition with the Tories at Westminster – have edged up from 74% to 80% in candidate selection.
Four years ago, Nigel Farage led UKIP to its best ever results in English council elections, winning 150 seats and a quarter of the votes in England and Wales.
The party has been embroiled in several chaotic leadership contests since Nigel Farage decided to step down last summer.
They lost their only MP Douglas Carswell after he became an independent in the past week, and on Thursday another former Tory MP Mark Reckless announced he was switching his support to the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly.
Party leader Nuttall came a poor second in the Stoke-on-Trent by-election, following a series of controversies over misleading claims on his website.
The party also dipped below double figures in national opinion polls and its big donor Arron Banks has announced he is funding a new campaign group, Patriotic Alliance.
After Brexit in 2019, the party will lose all its MEPs, like the other parties, and critics claim it will effectively have little reason to exist at all.
The Green Party, in contrast, has an MP in Caroline Lucas and has seen a surge in membership to 46,000 since 2015. It is due to launch its own council election campaign on Friday.
Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green Party, told HuffPost UK: “This is a pivotal moment and it’s time to pick a side.
“The Green Party is proud to be standing a record number of candidates in the local elections. From standing up for social care to standing against the Government’s extreme Brexit, Greens make a real difference when they are elected.
“It is no wonder we are already taking seats of UKIP. Vote Green to wipe the smile off UKIP’s face and send the message that Britain is bigger and better than the narrow country envisioned by Nuttall and his withering gang.”
It has 3 MEPs, one peer, six MSPs in Scotland, two London Assembly Members, two Assembly Members in Northern Ireland and 165 councillors.
They are also involved in balance of power governance arrangements on Stroud and Worcester councils.
The Greens came third twice in London elections in 2016 and 2012, as well as being the most popular party on second preferences in the London Mayoral elections last year.
The Greens have complained consistently that Farage and UKIP are given too much airtime on TV shows such as Question Time, given their relative lack of representation.
UKIP’s Mark Reckless to join Conservatives in assembly
By Nick ServiniPolitical editor, Wales
6 April 2017
The South Wales East AM will sit as a Tory but will not join the party.
Conservative group leader Andrew RT Davies welcomed a “hard-working and dedicated” AM, saying it made his party the official opposition to Labour.
But Gower MP and ex-AM Byron Davies said allowing Mr Reckless into the group was “not a particularly bright idea”.
When questioned about Andrew RT Davies’ leadership of the Tory group on BBC Radio Wales, the Gower MP said “we have to live with that”.
With regard to how the Tory group should work with Mr Reckless, he said: “I would be very, very cautious about how they deal with him.”
Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said: “Mark Reckless is not a member of the Conservative Party. There are absolutely no plans for him to become a member of the Conservative Party.”
A Conservative Party spokesman said: “Decisions about who sits with the Conservative group in the Welsh Assembly are a matter for the group in the Welsh Assembly.”
In a statement, Mr Reckless said he had been “thoroughly impressed by the performance and discipline of Andrew RT Davies and the Welsh Conservative group”.
He said Theresa May’s leadership as Prime Minister had been “exemplary” and that she had been “steadfast in her position to deliver on the wishes of the people of Wales and the United Kingdom” in relation to Brexit.
Assembly Presiding Officer Elin Jones said the former UKIP AM could be a member of the Conservative group.
Andrew RT Davies said Mr Reckless had “proven himself to be a hard-working and dedicated AM who has been an effective representative for the South East Wales region”.
“He will now be able to continue this work as part of a strong and united team which will be the official opposition in the assembly,” he added.
Mr Reckless told BBC Wales he knew there was still “bad blood” from the time he quit the Tories to join UKIP.
“It’s not for me to waltz back into the party with any sense of entitlement,” he said.
“I want to focus my efforts here with some humility.”
“He didn’t have the courtesy or the courage to speak to me about any doubts he had about his future in UKIP or what he might get from the Conservative Party,” he told BBC Wales.
“Fundamentally he was elected to the assembly not as Mark Reckless but as a UKIP candidate for the South East Wales region.
“He’s betrayed the trust of all of those who selected him in the first place to be a candidate and all of those who worked to get him elected to the assembly.
“He’s got no mandate to sit in the assembly as a member of the Conservative group.”
UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said it was “incumbent on Mark Reckless to relinquish a position he has only by virtue of a UKIP mandate”.
“The position should go to the next UKIP candidate on the regional list,” he said.
Mr Reckless was Conservative MP for Rochester and Strood when he defected to UKIP in 2014.
He voluntarily quit the seat to fight and win it in a by-election for UKIP, but lost it at the 2015 general election.
There is no requirement under assembly rules for either regional or constituency AMs to stand down when they leave the party they were elected to represent.
Mr Reckless told BBC Wales he would “love to be able to put my decision to the electorate” as he did in 2014, but said assembly rules regarding members elected via a regional list prevented this.
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said the changing arithmetic in the Senedd – with Plaid now the third-biggest party – would mean “very little in actual fact”.
She added: “We’ve got a strong team of assembly members all of whom are working very hard for the constituencies they represent, and for Plaid Cymru as a whole.
“We are putting the Welsh national interest at the top of the agenda at every opportunity. We might be a smaller team but we certainly are a very effective team.”
Analysis by BBC Wales political correspondent Tomos Livingstone
Normally the defection of a politician from one party to another prompts a stream of abuse from the member’s former home and the sound of champagne corks popping at their new abode.
There’s been plenty of the former from UKIP now that Mark Reckless has left, but not everyone in the Conservative Party is celebrating today’s development.
Mr Reckless made the opposite journey in 2014, and anger at that decision is still plain for all to see.
That’s why the South Wales East AM is going to be a Conservative AM, but not, rather oddly, a member of the Conservative Party.
Has Andrew RT Davies therefore performed a coup, defying the wishes of Welsh Conservative MPs who think he’s mis-read the party mood, and making his group the second-largest in the Senedd?
Or has he needlessly made some powerful enemies who might want to re-visit the whole affair in the weeks and months ahead?
This could be the beginning of the story rather than the end.
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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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as a result of ongoing reliable contacts both within Ukip’s heirarchy and in the EU and politics in general – you will remember that back before Christmas we cautioned that Ukip was under investigation for its financial behaviour and seeming abuse of money from the public purse.
We cautioned that a sum well into 6 figures (we thought around £160K) had been used in a manner that could be perceived as criminal for polls and surveys to boost Nigel Farage’s chances of being elected and let us face it Nigel Farage is nothing if not a chancer!
We now gather that some £172,000 was in fact used for polls in contravention of permitted process!
It would seem that our suggestion that Ukip had abused their access to public funds to the tune of between £500K and £1Million was not wrong!
This is by no means the first time that Ukip has used public funds for their own gain nor is it the first time they have claimed that the EU is victimising them by having the timerity to expect them to obey the law!
The UKIP-led Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), is in disarray after Yasmine Dehaene, the party’s executive director, walked out of the group.
In her parting email Dehaene wrote that she and a colleague — Willem Toutenhoofd — had worked “pro bono” for three months.
Dehaene went on to blame UKIP for failing to meet promises to pay “outstanding urgent bills from the lawyers, the accountant and the rent,” and said that service providers were no longer willing to supply their services to the party.
The email, dated March 31 and seen by POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook, was sent from Dehaene to Roger Helmer, a UKIP member of the European Parliament who is president of the euroskeptic party.
In 2016 the European Parliament found that ADDE had misspent more than half a million euros of EU funding. A significant amount —€172,655 — was found to have been channeled towards opinion polls supporting Nigel Farage’s election to the U.K. parliament in the country’s 2015 general election.
Additional EU funding was withheld from ADDE on the basis of the findings and an associated foundation, the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe (IDDE) also faced a clawback of funds.
Roger Helmer in a reply email appeared unsure whether the Parliament audit was ongoing or who are the outstanding creditors of ADDE.
ADDE, in a statement on their website, suggested audits of the organization were politically motivated and accused the European Parliament of “an aggressive and hostile attitude.”
Dehaene, who worked as stress management consultant before her role at ADDE, left one final parting gift to UKIP: her out-of-office email message directs all questions to the MEP Roger Helmer.
the bottom line is that there was an overwhellming British vote for the UK to Leave_The_EU
I am personally relieved that the British peoples voted for BreXit by such a majority – the majority was akin to the vote to remai9n in the EU all those years ago when the Government so clearly lied to the electorate, well this time despite the Government lies the people chose to Leave-The-EU
In times of National danger when the people seek victory against overwhellming odds perforce we choose strange allies – consider the allies thes United Kingdoms had in World War I & II, so9me were natural allies but some were very alien, some even sided with Britain in liberating Europe, on both occassions for their own ends, consider the deal Britain struck with Russia then and the cost to Britain in the loss of India which was a condition of their allegiance.
That Nikki Sinclaire used much of her own money to mount the petition which delivered the debate in The House of Commons that resulted in the Conservative Government including the promise of a Referendum in their manifesto is conveniently overlooked.
Just as it would seem that the criminal collusion of John Ison with Nigel Farage to try to sabotage the chances of a Referendum and fabricate evidence against Nikki Sinclaire is overlooked!
I find Arron Banks an odious and untrustworth individual with a long list of failures behind him but on this occassion I am glad he was able to access money whether Dark Money, Russian Money or even if it was Columbian Drug Money laundered through Panama matters little to me as we won!
Sometimes unpleasant people do good things!
Arron Banks: ‘Brexit was a war. We won. There’s no turning back now’
Now out of Ukip – the party he bankrolled – Arron Banks is creating a political movement of his own. We met the ‘bad boy of Brexit’ just before article 50 was triggered – and found his ambitions go far beyond leaving Europe
It is five days before article 50 is triggered, and I’m sitting in the sunshine outside a pub in Islington with the man who bankrolled Brexit. If victory lies with anyone this weekend, it maybe lies with Arron Banks.
Though Nigel Farage is the face of Brexit, Arron Banks is the man who made it possible. He bought Brexit. Or at least paid for it. Until 2014 he was an unknown Bristol businessman. Now he’s the biggest political donor in British political history. The most powerful. He put more money into funding the Leave campaign than anyone else – more than £7m. He donated his office space, his computer equipment, his senior staff. He’s the co-founder of Leave.EU, the so-called “provisional wing” of the Leave campaign, spearheaded by his close confidante Nigel Farage, and he’s now contemplating his next move: taking an axe to the rest of the parliamentary system.
He only began pouring his money into politics in earnest in 2014 with a splashy donation to Ukip but he’s now out of the party and in the throes of creating a new “movement”. In his sights: the seats of more than 100 Remain MPs. Although, he’s not partisan – he’s aiming to dislodge all “bad MPs”. (“Bad MPs” being, as far as I can make out, anyone from Oxford PPE-ists to people he’s had a spat with on Twitter.) He tells me he’s working with Steve Hilton, David Cameron’s former head of strategy, to come up with “a points system that grades them on their awfulness”, and from that he’ll formulate “a target list of the most hated people”.
It will be that defining phenomenon of our age: a grassroots movement funded and built by a multimillionaire. And, potentially, the next political earthquake. Taking us out of Europe was only step one of the big disruption, it turns out. Next up: the party political system, and the destruction of the traditional boundaries between left and right.
And if that sounds like a stretch, well, we’ve been here before. Banks has the money, the drive and, as we’ve latterly come to realise, the connections. He and his business partner, Andy Wigmore, together with Nigel Farage and Raheem Kassam, the editor of Breitbart London, are the self-styled “bad boys of Brexit”. They’re key partners in a transatlantic alliance, the depth and extent of which is only now, slowly, coming into the light. An alliance that has been cultivated for years by Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist.
The sun is shining. Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s only MP and Banks’s mortal enemy, had just resigned from the party. Banks intends to stand against him – and beat him; he plays to win – in the next general election. He has just been on the phone with Farage, who he says is cockahoop. Everything is going exactly to plan.
“The needle on public opinion has shifted so far now. And trying to shift it back is as hard as it was for us to shift it the other way. There’s people protesting, all the rest of it. But the fact is, they’re not going to shift public opinion. It has shifted. It is what it is. It’s permanent.”
It’s hard to argue with this theory of permanent revolution. And part of it – a big part, he enjoys telling me – was playing and beating the media at its own game. “As businessmen, we sat down with a clean sheet of paper and said, ‘How do we beat these people?’ And then we figured out how the mainstream media works – how they operate – and we turned it back on them.
“We worked out how to take their outrage, how to take their pain – in your case – and feed it back into the system. You know we spent £12-14m on the campaign? And we calculated what our column inches and TV coverage was worth. It was over £150m .”
All of which makes me wonder: what exactly is the game he’s playing here, now? A month ago I interviewed Andy Wigmore, Leave.EU’s director of communications, and as a result of what he revealed to me, the Electoral Commission is now investigating whether Leave.EU should have declared the donation of services by a company largely owned by Robert Mercer, the billionaire who bankrolled Trump, and who works closely with Steve Bannon.
Banks’s autobiography, The Bad Boys of Brexit, was written for him in the Jeremy Clarkson style, and the whole aesthetic is Top Gear. A lot of people portray Farage, Banks and Wigmore as the three stooges: Clarkson, James May and “the Hamster” (Richard Hammond), the jolly chumps who more or less accidentally took the country out of Europe. But that’s not my view. They’re smart, and in triangulation with Bannon there has been a huge amount of strategy – and crucially an understanding of technology – behind everything they’ve done. This just feels like the next stage. Ukip was the host body, and now they’re pupating.
“Whatevs,” says Banks when I bring up the Electoral Commission. “I don’t give a monkey’s what the Electoral Commission says.”
To be clear, the Electoral Commission rules aren’t guidelines for the tombola at the village fete. He’s talking about UK electoral law. Electoral law that Damian Tambini, director of the media policy project at the LSE, says isn’t fit for purpose. Tambini met with the regulators and other parties and they’ve joined forces this week to call for a parliamentary commission to urgently review it.
Modern online campaigning has fundamentally changed everything, Tambini tells me. “And the existing framework is utterly weak and helpless.” The cost of building databases, money poured into third-party campaigns, offshore spending – these were either largely or totally unregulated. There is no longer any way, with current legislation, of guaranteeing a free and fair election.
Or as Banks puts it: “We were just cleverer than the regulators and the politicians. Of course we were.”
He didn’t break the law, he says. He “pushed the boundary of everything, right to the edge. It was war.” And later: “You’re looking for a smoking gun but there’s a smoking gun on every table! And no one cares. No one cares!”
Banks is a gambler: both calculated and reckless. It’s his choice to do the interview in the pub. His to get stuck into the wine. He likes the thrill of this, the game. And he likes winning more. His main business is insurance, and calculating the odds then beating them is what he does. Brexit: a £7m gamble that was… what? An investment? And if so, into what?
A brave new Brexit world, obviously, but there’s also this new movement he’s airing for the first time. He has policy ideas that are either radical or nuts, possibly both (selling off all government property to create a sovereign wealth fund to bankroll new housing). He’s suggesting things that are genuinely innovative in the turgid world of UK politics: looking to young people; taxing old, wealthy people.
But there’s some other agenda in play, too. And moments into my first question, about Trump, he has segued. “We had no Russian money into Brexit,” he says. “I’ve had two very nice lunches with the Russian ambassador, where Andy and I got completely pissed. And that’s it. Why wouldn’t you? Why wouldn’t I go and have lunch with him? We’d met diplomats and all sorts of different people. Not a single penny of Russian money has been put into Brexit.”
Which would be a perfectly reasonable answer, if he had been asked if Russia had put money into Brexit. But he hadn’t. He asked and answered his own question. I know about his six-hour lunches at the Russian embassy, not least because he makes a point of writing about one of them in The Bad Boys of Brexit. It’s Trump’s links to Russia, I’m asking about, not his, but he brings it immediately around to himself. Or to be more accurate, he makes an equivalency between them. “Come on!” he says when I ask him what he makes of the accusations against Trump. “I’ve got a Russian wife. I got an early taste of it about six years ago when the Daily Mail put her on the front page and called her a Russian spy.”
He’s referring to an incident in 2010 before anyone knew who he was, when his wife, Katya Banks – formerly Ekaterina Paderina – came up in conjunction with a court case involving a suspected Russian spy. “She was on the front page as a Russian spy! I was killing myself. It was very funny.”
What happened was this: a 64-year-old MP for Portsmouth, Mike Hancock, who was on the Commons defence select committee, instigated a four-year affair with another Ekaterina, the striking 24-year-old Ekaterina Zatuliveter, whom he met in St Petersburg and later made his researcher. MI5 believed she was working for Russian intelligence and applied to the Home Office to deport on the grounds of national security. She appealed and her case was brought before the Special Immigration Appeal Commission.
Some of the evidence was held behind closed doors but the judgment is full and detailed, and utterly compelling reading. She had previously had an affair with a senior Nato official and a Dutch diplomat. And MI5 disclosed that they had warned Hancock that he may be being targeted by foreign agents – he had had a string of Russian and eastern European girlfriends.
The judge, Mr Justice Mitting, heard all the evidence, including excerpts from Zatuliveter’s diary, which she had stated in her original evidence that she didn’t have (she produced it on the first day of the trial, saying she had forgotten about it) and ruled in her favour, concluding that she was an “immature” young woman with an understandable crush on an older man. In summary, he wrote: “We cannot exclude the possibility that we have been gulled – but, if we have been, it has been by a supremely competent and rigorously trained operative.”
Banks’s wife, Katya, comes into the story because, according to follow-up reports in several newspapers, she also had links to Hancock before she met and married Banks. Her first husband – in a marriage of just three months– was a retired merchant seaman, Eric Butler. The Home Office suspected it was a marriage of convenience and tried to deport her, at which point she wrote to her local MP, Hancock, for help. Butler told reporters that he had discovered them looking “very cosy” in the conservatory.
I ask Banks: “Did you know about that bit of history before the story came out?”
“I knew that she had been in, lived in Portsmouth and I knew… yeah, I knew broadly the kind of, you know, thing.”
What do you mean?
“Well, broadly the fact that she had written to her local MP and various other things.”
That her ex-husband had said he’d found her and Hancock together?
“Well, you know, that’s the evil of an ex-husband or wife, isn’t it? They’re hardly on your side. As far as I can see, it’s just a pack of Daily Mail lies.”
Are you saying that she hadn’t met Mike Hancock, then?
“The only thing that’s true in the Daily Mail story is that she fluently speaks six languages and she has the profile that would fit a Russian spy. But that’s about it.”
To date, Arron Banks’s strategy with the press has been this: if he doesn’t like what they say, he instructs his lawyers at Mishcon de Reya and threatens to sue. He threatened to sue Matthew Elliott – the director of the official Vote Leave campaign – for calling Leave.EU racist. He threatened to sue a thinktank, American Bridge, which featured him in an article entitled “The Kremlin’s Trojan Horses”. He threatened to sue the Guardian for publishing his business dealings as described in the Panama Papers. He threatened to sue a newspaper that described him as having business interests in Belize. And he threatened to sue a commentator on CNN for making certain statements about him on air.
“They called me a Russian actor! And I’ve got no feelings one way or another other than having a Russian wife. I felt that was just wrong. They said that Brexit was funded by the Russians. That’s a bit rich.”
It’s not rich to ask the question though, is it?
“If you lied and said Russians funded Brexit, I would be pretty annoyed.”
But what if I say, “Arron, the question is are you a Russian actor?”
“I wouldn’t care in the least. They said I was a Russian actor and that Russian money had funded Brexit, and it was wrong. There has to be a point where you draw the line in the sand.”
“I’m not going to say that,” I tell him. “Because it’s impossible to know what the sources of your wealth are. That’s the whole issue.”
“That’s wrong as well because I made a fortune in the insurance industry. I’m taxed in northern Bristol. My money is made in the UK.”
Some of it is. And the rest? Who knows. That’s my beef, not so much with him but our electoral finance rules. He’s free to donate, even though nobody knows quite where the £7m he put into the Leave campaign came from, or the millions he put into Ukip: his financial arrangements include a complex structure of companies based in secretive low-tax jurisdictions. Even Leave.EU was set up by an offshore company. It’s the offshoot of STM Fidecs, which the Observer reported was incorporated in Gibraltar.
In Britain he has his insurance companies, various security and intelligence companies, a new data company. He’s a director of nearly 40 different companies using slightly different variations of his name. He has installed employees as directors of other companies. And then there’s a whole offshore empire. A bank he co-owns on the Isle of Man. A slew of things in Gibraltar. The “defunct shell companies”, as he describes them, in the British Virgin Islands. And diamond mines in South Africa – he owns a whole supply chain of diamonds, from mines to shops.
How many companies do you actually own? He shrugs. “I’ve no idea.”
This is how offshore can work: a web of deliberate secrecy. A web that is now being brought into politics. Not just directly via the money that Banks is pouring in, but indirectly too. The digital marketing of the Vote Leave campaign was offshored too: funnelled through a tiny company on the west coast of Canada.
In America, the restrictions on political funding were dismantled in a 2010 case, bankrolled by Robert Mercer, which an organisation called Citizens United took to the supreme court, opening up the way to Super Pacs – “political action committees” – which have become unlimited donation vehicles. The sums in Britain are tiny in comparison, but you don’t even need to create a system of Pacs: there’s no way of knowing how much money was poured into the Leave campaign before the “regulated period” (the weeks before the campaign when spending is monitored and capped). Banks is setting up a movement not a party, at least initially. Parties are subject to some political financing rules. Movements aren’t.
Why are your companies based in low-tax jurisdictions with no disclosure requirements, I ask Banks.
“Why should I pay more tax?” he answers.
Because you’re a citizen of this country? And it pays for schools and hospitals. “I’m an internationalist, OK? If I own diamond mines in South Africa, why would I register a company in the UK?”
It’s one thing to be an internationalist if you’re only a private individual. But he’s not. He’s the man who bankrolled Brexit. But what does it matter? He’s already told me the mainstream media is worthless. That the BBC lies. “What you write is completely valueless because it’s sitting under another bunch of papers almost straightaway.”
More precisely, who needs to sue in the age of #fakenews, anyway? Later he gives me a lift to the station, and Andy Wigmore – they call each other Wiggy and Banksy – is on speakerphone. Wigmore has family links to Belize, and he was that country’s trade envoy to the UK until January, when the foreign office stripped him of his diplomatic status because of his political activity. And Banks lost his status too: he was Belize’s special envoy to Wales. It’s all a terrific joke. “But what?” I say. “You’re telling me you have a diplomatic passport?”
“Yes,” he says. “We both do.” Proud British citizens both.
Then Wiggy pipes up: “Did you know Paul Manafort [Trump’s ex-campaign manager] is accused of laundering Russian money through Belize?”
Are Banksy and Wiggy trolling me? Using me – a feature writer on a remoaner newspaper – to get this stuff out into the sunlight? But all hopelessly mixed up together? Banks has chucked it all at me: his diplomatic passports and diamond mines, Russians spies, offshore tax havens, circumvention of electoral law. All those individual facts are true, but together it feels like one big confected mess? #Fakenews? Is that what’s going on here? That’s what it feels like.
There is weirdness threaded through this story in all sorts of ways. Talking to Banks, my grasp on normal feels slippery. It’s like the weirdness of reading a Trump tweet. The weirdness of playing what feels like a high-level game of chess with Banks, but in the British style – with banter and jokes. Banks has a good sense of humour. One of the first things he tells me is how much he enjoys it when Marina Hyde, the Guardian’s peerless columnist, rips the piss out of him. I bait him relentlessly and I can tell he’s enjoying that, too.
But the weirdness still cuts through. There’s the moment when I challenge Banks to a toast in my pidgin Russian. “You really don’t speak Russian, do you?” he says after I accidentally throw in some Czech. “Maybe I’m fluent,” he says, although he refuses to say a single word.
The lifebuoy I find myself grasping hold of is a piece in last Sunday’s New York Times by Masha Gessen, the biographer of Putin, who now lives in the US. One should resist “trafficking in exaggeration and unsubstantiated allegations,” she writes. It’s pointless looking for a conspiracy, she says. The unimaginable has already happened. “The unimaginable, happening out in the open day after day, not only continues to dull our defences but also creates a need to see a conspiracy big enough, a secret terrible enough to explain how this can be happening to our own country.”
And here too. Out in the open is the fact that Arron Banks is pro-Putin. “I tell you what I’m pro,” he tells me. “I’m pro Putin being actually for his country. It’s not possible to run that entire country as a pure democracy. It’s not possible. The whole history of Russia is that there has to be someone strong in control or it breaks up.”
Out in the open is that he’s just said that democracy isn’t necessarily the answer. Out in the open is that Nigel Farage has voted multiple times in alignment with Russian interests in the European parliament. Out in the open is that Banks defends Putin’s invasion of both Crimea and eastern Ukraine. “It’s 85% ethnic Russian,” he says.
You don’t need to look at the inputs. Just look at the outputs. There’s no need to go looking for a conspiracy. What’s right here, in plain sight, is troubling enough. Andrew Foxall, the director of the Russian Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society, tells me that is the point he is always making. “Join the dots that are in full view. There’s a tendency right now to see Russian agency in everything, given the heightened awareness. To think Russia must be in play.
“There are commonalities that are there anyway. It just so happens Russia overlaps with the alt-right, as they call it in the US, and the far right in Europe, and Ukip in Britain. Farage has been part of a pan-European, pro-Russian network in the European parliament. And Russia helps to facilitate and amplify those discourses.
“The Russian state uses different tactics in different countries, and sometimes it doesn’t need to do much at all. Farage was one of the first Ukip politicians to embrace RT [Russia’s state broadcaster, formerly Russia Today, which has a channel in the UK] in 2007-2008.”
It was one thing for people to be pro-Russia before 2014, Foxall says, but post Crimea, the MH17 missile that brought down the plane in Ukraine, the war crimes in Aleppo, “the Kremlin’s tactics are clear. And to be a willing participant in that is… profoundly disturbing.”
Out in the open is Russia’s strategy of stoking and encouraging far-right movements in Europe. Ben Nimmo, a defence analyst with the Atlantic Council, points out that the Russian military doctrine published in 2014 lays out the characteristics of modern warfare as the combined use of military and non-military means: “Economic, diplomatic and informational. And the use of protest potential of the local population.” Nimmo studies disinformation and says that the far right and Russia are linked together in a single network.
“So after the Berlin attack, Paul Joseph Watson [a British far-right activist with a huge following on social media] was one of the first who jumped in with a slew of tweets blaming Islam. And that was picking up an RT news report. There’s this huge confluence between Russia and the far right. It’s the opposition to western liberalism that unites them. From the Kremlin’s point of view it’s because they hate democracy and transparency, but it also entails hating gay marriage and wanting to ban the Qur’an and being pro-Christianity and whites.”
Also out in the open, framed by a golden door, is the closeness of the transatlantic alliance. Farage, Wigmore and Banks may sound and behave like Clarkson, May and the Hamster but, ideologically, they’re the shadow players of Trump, Bannon and Mercer.
It was data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica that led me to understanding Robert Mercer’s role in all this; in the great disruption of the political landscape on two continents; his strategic and coordinated attack on the mainstream media and its replacement with an alternative online network. But it’s Steve Bannon who forged these links across the Atlantic.
Bannon was the one who set out in 2012 to find European versions of the tea party movement and he has cultivated a close relationship with Farage and Ukip ever since. With Robert Mercer’s billions, he’s supported them first via Breitbart and latterly during the referendum campaign. He directed Mercer’s Cambridge Analytica to lend its assistance too. On the day article 50 was triggered this week, Nigel Farage raised his pint glass to toast “Well done Bannon,” he said. “Well done, Breitbart. You helped with this hugely.”
Out in the open is this, Banks’s statement to me: “What you’re talking about is the degree to which the Russians actually – let’s say they influenced the Brexit vote. Say I’m pro-Putin. Nigel said he’s not anti-Putin, if that’s the right word. But all we’ve said is that there are elements of what Russians do that we don’t disagree with. We don’t agree with everything they’re doing, like murdering journalists in the street.”
I interrupt him. You’re saying, on the record, that you don’t agree with murdering journalists on the street?
“I’ll only say it once,” he says.
We both laugh. Though possibly only one of us has a slightly high-pitched edge to our voice.
Dismiss, distract, dismay. This, Nimmo tells me, is the classic Russian disinformation strategy. You launder information like you launder money. You pass it through a set of different bodies. You send it from one shell company/mouthpiece to another. You confuse its origins. You chuck in a distraction. You create outrage.
And in this context, I wonder if that’s me. Have I been groomed as the vector? The agent of disinformation. The vessel through which their scrambled, encrypted, confusing message is passing. Maybe this is simply a description of all journalists in all interview situations. It’s just usually some celeb trying to flog their memoir.
What is Banks flogging? Andrew Breitbart, the founder and informing spirit of Breitbart, believed politics is downstream from culture. First change the culture, then the politics will follow. Take the existing culture and subtly distort it. Banks has launched a new politics site, Westmonster, and in his sights is the Westminster elite and the metropolitan elite. He levels this at me. I point out: “You’re the privately educated multimillionaire who’s sitting here drinking white wine in Islington.”
The shame, I think, is that he could have been a leftie. There is a strong streak of social justice that runs through him. Or social something. Chippiness is part of it. But that’s no bad thing. But he’s not a leftie. And in the US, the permanent revolution is well under way. Steve Bannon is masterminding a silent coup: the institutions of government are being systematically dismantled. The relation of citizens to the state is being re-engineered. Trump, the businessman, is redefining them as consumers. Last week the US senate approved the right of telecoms companies to sell their customers’ browsing history – a huge step forward in renegotiating the relationship between individuals and their rights from that of democratic participants to end users. This is government as platform monopoly. Government as modelled on Google and Facebook. And what’s coming is platform democracy, where the company/government retains the right to change the user agreement at any time. And it’s data – the intimate information of you, your personal life, your history, your relationships, your dreams and desires, your thoughts – that’s the source of their power, legitimacy, capital. Harvested, captured, sold, fed into the panopticon: total surveillance, total control, total power.
I’ve started to think that Brexit isn’t our Trump moment. That’s what’s coming next – 2016 will be nothing next to the general election of 2020, our year of reckoning.
Before I meet Banks, I watch him talking on stage at a trade show called “Master Investor”. I learned of it because I had liked Leave.EU’s Facebook page and I’m now in their million-strong database. This isn’t just a million people, to be clear. It’s the entire social networks of a million people. I had received an email inviting me to the event, hosted by Banks’s great friend, Jim Mellon.
Mellon is another businessman who donated to Leave.EU. He made millions in the early 90s in Russia in uranium mining, investing $100,000 in a company that was worth $2.5bn two years later. He doesn’t live in Britain though. The man who introduced Banks to Farage, who brought the Brexit team together, wasn’t actually eligible to vote in the referendum. He lives in Ibiza and the Isle of Man. Article 50 as brought to you by true patriots, foreign donors, multimillionaires, Belizean passport holders and tax exiles.
I ask Banks about the email I got, advertising the event. The insurance offers he’s sending to Leave.EU subscribers. The use of his political database for commercial purposes
“Jim Mellon is my friend,” he says. “Why shouldn’t I? It’s my data.”
Well, no, it’s not. It’s my data. Your data. It’s what’s at the heart of all this. Steve Bannon knows this, and Robert Mercer knows this, and Arron Banks knows this. His day job, one of them – insurance – is all about data. “We know everything about everyone,” he says. “We buy everything.”
The battle for data is where the next general election will be fought. Politics is war, says Steve Bannon. And Banks is already out of the trenches.
Politics is war. Politics is business. Business is politics. There are no walls between them any more. Silos, as they call it in the tech world. There are no silos. It’s all one, now – enmeshed, intertwined, inseparable.
the article below is clearly largely accurate but I do take issue with the % support claim and minded of their near total absence of support in Scotland after a series of complete clowns in their leadership team dating back at least until the days when the Ukip Scotland efforts were in part funded by the criminal idiot Tom Wise, who as you will recall was sentenced to 2 years in prison for his criminal behaviour embezelling money as a Ukip MEP.
I believe that Ukip’s support is currently likely to be around their historic norm of between 5 > 8% placing them in a trailing position as they progress to the May Elections where they are likely to find their already miniscule County Council representation will realistically collapse.
Paul Nuttall’s abject failure in the Stoke by-election is a portent of things to come, when you consider just how inept and dishonest he proved to be, when you consider the declared costs of his capaign was £99,000 we understand and Stoke, which was the area most campaigned in by Nikki Sinclaire who boosted the BreXit vote to such an extent it was nick named ‘BreXit Central’, to have lost the by-election shows what a failure Nuttall is as a credible candidate & his ineptitude as a leader is plain for all to see, despite having Farage to hold his hand as the defacto leader (as ever).
Realistically with the level of squabbling in Ukip and the lack of backers, with their last backer Arron Banks threatening to form a new Party post the May Elections also do consider the fact that Ukip’s only real presence is as a few remaining MEPs and Nigel Farage is their effective leader and leader of the Party group in the EU, whilst Nuttall tries to manage the squabbling in the rump party in the UK.
Indeed realistically as it stands Ukip has no meaningfull future!
The year 2017 is going to be critical for the survival of UKIP. The identity and procedures of the Party are to be reviewed and determined. The coming months may well prove decisive.
On Monday the 27th March 2017, the Telegraph on-line reported a press conference given by Party Leader Paul Nuttall and attended by former Party leader, Nigel Farage. The report stated:
Mr Nuttall told The Telegraph: “We are going to rebrand the post-Brexit Ukip and it will all be launched at the annual conference in Torquay in September.”
The party’s pound sign logo might disappear as well as its familiar yellow and purple colours. Mr Nuttall said: “Everything is up for debate.”
Plans for the overhaul were due to be discussed at a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee this afternoon.
Behind the scenes, Constitutional change has been on the agenda for two years, with little actual progress. Clearly now, a change in the Constitution is envisaged and the existing Constitution requires any amendment to be put to the full membership of the Party in a postal vote. [Article 13.1.2 of the Party Constitution under which, and according to which, Rules are made – Article 14.2].
Ideas and proposals will undoubtedly be discussed at the highest levels of the Party over the coming weeks and months. While I am sure that those with an authoritarian agenda have already got their ideas worked out, I strongly suspect that what actually does emerge at the Party conference in September is yet to be properly thought through and decided.
The stance this campaign takes about the Party’s future has been made clear in posts and pages on this blog, and it is to be summed up in the campaign’s motto, a grass roots campaign for integrity and democracy in the UK Independence Party.
I would like to think that come September the need for this campaign will have disappeared because the proposed changes announced yesterday will have met our concerns.
We will see.
One thing I do know now, however, is that all this is going to depend on the leader, Paul Nuttall.
Paul has before him a monumental and historic challenge.
Get it right, and he will go down in the history books as the man who led the Party through the crisis, and on to success.
Get it wrong – and that is all too easy – and UKIP will disappear, despite the open goal and despite the historic moment in British politics when there is still no viable Opposition Party to the Conservatives.
That UKIP is at a cross roads is clear from the Stoke Central and Copeland by election results last month.
What is also clear is that UKIP came second in Stoke and that the UKIP vote is holding steady around the 12% level reached in the General Election of 2015 nearly two years ago.
The May local elections are likely to be disastrous for UKIP – but it won’t be the end of the world.
What will be the end of the world is if Paul Nuttall makes the wrong choices for the Party’s future over this summer.
Paul Nuttall is going to need a two thirds majority of those members voting to get his proposed changes implemented. If he fails, then we are left with the status quo which those who are alive to the significance of such technical matters know, is quite unsatisfactory.
To have confidence in such a vote, it will need to be run independently of the Party hierarchy. And a reforming leader should not be afraid of that.
But a reforming leader will have to ensure that the changes he brings forward are beyond reasonable criticism, and that they will enjoy widespread support. It is absolutely essential at this critical juncture in our fortunes that the membership at large can have confidence in the changes, and that members can at last be assured of a meaningful engagement in party decision making be that on policy or on party performance.
The Party now needs to engage members in much more than leafleting and fundraising.
If the party is to expand and become a viable main Opposition party, then it must enthuse and engage members. And it must so engage them that they learn the craft of how to become responsible and effective holders of public office because they learned it within the Party first.
That is going to mean a major overhaul of the party apparatus and culture.
The one criteria that the framers of the Constitutional reforms should keep in mind as the KEY reference point for their proposal is this:
Will these reforms reflect our patriotic, democratic, libertarian standpoint by bringing in procedures which enable members to learn the craft of responsible democratic politics in order to become effective and trustworthy candidates for elected public office ?
Personally, I do not see how such a criterion cannot be applied at such a critical moment as this.
Paul Nuttall and the NEC have before them the opportunity to make this Party an exemplary democratic Party – something the electorate is crying out to see.
Will they take it, or will they be content with the way politics in UKIP has been done and let an historic opportunity slip away ?
And the UK Independence Party with it …
Critical issues we must get right with such radical change in prospect:
Mr Banks told the newspaper that he had agreed with police not to contract Ms Featherby following the harassment claims.
The friend said: ‘Banks had been pursuing Jo ever since first hiring her when she was an 18-year-old barmaid at his local pub.
‘Even then he was trying underhand tactics like ensuring flowers were delivered to her while she was with her boyfriend. She left but later joined one of his firms and was eventually promoted to run a team of 60 sales staff.’
Mr Banks was accompanied by Mr Farage and party chairman Steve Crowther when he made the announcement at a press conference at a country hotel near Bristol
The insurance tycoon planned to give Nigel Farage’s party £100,000 – but upped the donation after William Hague called him a ‘nobody’
Ms Featherby, from Bristol, launched employment tribunal proceedings alleging unfair dismissal and harassment. But she later agreed an out-of-court settlement gagging her from speaking out.
The revelation are a blow to Ukip ahead of next month’s crunch Rochester by-election, triggered by the defection of rebel backbench MP Mark Reckless.
Mr Banks was unveiled to the national press at a special event in Bristol on the final day of the Conservative Party conference earlier this month.
He announced he was handing the party £1million to fight the next election – because he was angry at being called a ‘nobody’ by William Hague.
Mr Banks, who has previously given tens of thousands of pounds to the Conservatives, said he was only going to give Nigel Farage’s party £100,000 – but decided to increase it by £900,000 after Mr Hague’s jibe.
The revelations over Mr Banks come after Ukip’s first elected MP Douglas Carswell took up his seat in the House of Commons last week
Nigel Farage has been campaigning hard in Rochester and Strood with former Tory MP Mark Reckless ahead of next month’s by-election
The announcement, timed to disrupt David Cameron’s set-piece party conference speech, came after the Tories were left stunned by the double defection of rebel backbenchers Douglas Carswell and Mr Reckless.
Mr Banks — who has split from his Russian wife — told The Sun on Sunday: ‘After events all got very heated she made these allegations against me. It was agreed mutually with the police that I wouldn’t contact her again.
‘Jo Featherby was a long-term employee of ours who had horrendous personal problems with her boyfriend.’
Police confirmed: ‘A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of harassment on August 9, 2012. He was issued with a harassment notice and words of advice.’
A Ukip spokeswoman said: ‘He’s done nothing illegal.’
Tory MP Tracey Crouch said: ‘Ukip should not take money from people who treat women this way.’