Leading Radical Voice Quits UKIP NEC as Leadership Race Heats Up
The race to become the new leader of UKIP, following the departure of Paul Nuttall after the party’s poor General Election result, has gone into overdrive this week with claim and counterclaim by supporters of radical anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters, who is one of the favourites to land the role. The pressures boiled over last night as one of Waters leading backers on the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) resigned following a dispute over the cut-off date for new members being eligible to vote in the contest.
Anish Patel (pictured above) joined the party in 2014 and was seen as one of the most radical and energetic members of the NEC, having coming up via the party’s Young Independence movement. Like Waters he was a staunch critic of all forms of Islam and supported her hardline stance against the religion. Last night he announced to his followers on Facebook that he had tendered his resignation from the body to party Chairman Paul Oakden, but declined to give any reasons for his departure. He has since de-activated his Facebook account.
Earlier yesterday Waters had written an open letter to Oakden seeking clarification about the cut-off date for nominating candidates and voting in the contest. UKIP HQ had previously announced the relevant date as June 23rd, before most of Waters new recruits had signed up, however this contradicts a motion put to the last NEC meeting on June 12th calling for the cut-off date to be set as August 6th, which was carried on a vote of 7 in favour with only 1 against.
UKIP’s returning officer Piers Wauchope has attempted to clarify the discrepancy. When asked who was eligible he said:
‘The short answer is only those members in good standing who were members on June 23rd, 2017. The relevant wording of Article 7.8 of the party’s constitution is:
‘7.8 Any contested election for the leadership shall be decided by a simple majority of the votes cast. Those eligible to vote shall be members ‘in good standing’ of the Party on the date when the election is called, subject always to the restrictions on voting set out in the final paragraph of article 4.1.2 above.
‘The leadership election was called on June 23rd, the earliest date set by the NEC for the receipt of nomination papers.
‘It is worth noting that the constitution can only be altered by a vote of all the membership. It cannot be changed by the NEC alone. The affect is that the NEC may make rules concerning elections only so long as they are compatible with the constitution’.
Waters and her team are believed to now be seeking legal advice on the issue.
Meanwhile Deputy Leader Peter Whittle has his main campaign launch at 10.30 am this morning (Wednesday) whilst later today strong ‘dark horse’ candidate John Rees-Evans is expected to throw his hat into the ring at a meeting in Westminster. His campaign team have already started collecting the relevant signatures required from members to ensure his candidacy.
Another of the ‘outside bet’ candidates Ben Walker yesterday released his campaign video (below) promising to end the ‘crisis in UKIP’. Walker is considered to belong on the moderate wing of the party:
The result of the contest will be announced at the party’s Annual Conference in Torquay in September.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com