LEADERSHIP LATEST: Bown Ditches Collins And Backs Whittle
UPDATE: Team Collins has released an email in which Bown states that Collins is a “very worthy” candidate to be leader. Meanwhile, Peter Whittle has claimed Ms Collins “misspoke” when she claimed that Bown endorsed her at a recent London hustings.
In a shock announcement, Peter Whittle has today announced he has been endorsed by Alan Bown, one of UKIP’s major financial backers. The shock stems from the fact that Bown has previously been widely touted, including by Jane Collins herself, as standing foursquare behind the MEP for Yorkshire & North Lincolnshire.
Mr Bown was given by Ms Collins as an example of how she could build a strong rapport with key UKIP donors at the beginning of several hustings and indeed served as her political referee. However, this is perhaps a cautionary tale in how being a referee is not an explicit endorsement as Mr Bown has now publicly backed Mr Whittle saying:
I know Peter Whittle has the courage, experience and leadership skills to make our Party a real challenger again.
Quite what has occurred here isn’t clear. Has Bown had a genuine change of heart or did he simply never back Collins in the first place in the way she stated he did? This could be a story with legs so as ever watch this space!!