Why Woolfe has to be on the UKIP Leadership Ballot
Yesterday the NEC deemed Steven Woolfe to be ineligible to be on the ballot for UKIP leader. They have faced lots of opposition for this and took an extra day to make the decision. They said that their reason was that his application was 17 minutes late (even though he submitted it before the deadline). Here are my reasons that he should still be on the ballot:
- He had the support of the majority of members
Almost all polls put him in the lead with a majority of votes for him. This means that no new leader can claim to have a true mandate from the membership because they actually backed him. He will be pulling the strings in the party, even though he’s not the leader. This is bad for the party because the membership may not support the leader and a coup could happen at any point.
- He submitted the application before the deadline
He was campaigning on Friday and was at the Young Independence conference on Saturday so Sunday was the only day he could submit his application. He tried over an hour before the deadline and it wasn’t working. He phoned up the party and they couldn’t help. In the end, he submitted it a few minutes before the deadline but the computer didn’t send it to head office until 12:17. I fail to see how this is Steven’s fault. There has also been talk that the NEC took down the site to stop him standing. This is hard to prove true or false but does present a very worrying scenario.
- The NEC have ‘had it in’ for Woolfe since he started his campaign
The NEC have tried to stop Woolfe for several reasons during his short-lived bid for the leadership. First, they said his membership lapsed in 2014, which they later admitted was not true. Then they leaked the fact that he had a drink-driving conviction in 2002. Not only was this in 2002, but it does not affect his ability to lead a party. I’m sure most people know at least one decent person who has had a drink-driving conviction once in their life. The only place where they could have got this information is from the UKIP database, which would be a clear violation of the Data Protection Act, and could lead to criminal charges if proved. The fact that he called for the NEC to be abolished was probably a key factor in their decision for him to not stand.
- If these things do make him ineligible, let the members choose not to have him
We so often claim to be the party of direct democracy, yet this race clearly shows otherwise. If Woolfe has done things in the wrong and has made mistakes, let’s let the membership vote either for or against his leadership. If he is that bad he will lose and a more popular candidate will win. If he does get voted in, however, then the party supports him as the leader, even after his mistakes. I believe this also goes for Suzanne Evans. While she has made mistakes (and oh boy has she made a lot of mistakes), it should be up to the membership to decide if she would make a good leader, not a bunch of ex-Tories on the NEC.
I hope that UKIP members agree with me, and will stand with Steven to try to get him back on the ballot. If you want to help get our democratic election back, share this article below and hold tight. It might seem like UKIP is going downhill but stay in and keep fighting – democracy will win in the end.