Gerard Batten On Daily Politics
First, a clip was shown of deservedly besieged Leader Henry Bolton speaking on Sunday Politics after being asked why he stubbornly refuses to resign. “It’s going to take 3-5 months of a refocusing on that election” Henry said, either oblivious to or deliberately ignoring the option to install an Interim Leader. “The infighting that will result will give our political enemies more than enough ammunition.” This is the same man who aimed phrases like “Nazi” and “BNP types” towards Anne Marie Waters and her supporters!
He warned that the National Executive Committee had better not make “the wrong decision.” (This was recorded before their unanimous vote of no confidence.) “This party cannot afford to have a leadership election” he stated. He also told us he will “remain in contact” with his racist mistress Jo Marney.
In the studio, host Jo Coburn brought up the flurry of senior resignations.
Gerard replied “The party’s not collapsing because those people are staying with UKIP, but they’re saying that Henry should realise the game is up and go.” He orated that even Margaret Thatcher had far more support in her own party when she resigned. “I’m afraid he’s not facing reality. We have been very, very generous to Henry over the last 3 weeks and said we’re not going to get involved in discussions about his private life, it is private, but this whole thing has got worse with the revelations that you’re talking about of tweets and emails.” “That’s why he’s got to go, because he’s shown that he just can’t manage this situation.”
“You say he hasn’t been able to shut it down, but it’s all these resignations that has kept this story very much in the headlines” Coburn opined. “Jo Marney has apologised. Henry Bolton says they are no longer romantically linked” “and yet this crisis rumbles on.”
“These people didn’t resign until yesterday, until after the unanimous vote by the NEC in which they couldn’t support him” Batten replied. “I thought he might have some support amongst the NEC, but I’m afraid after they listened to him and points of view were exchanged,” “they decided to vote unanimously. He doesn’t have the support of key people in the party and he has to go.”
“Right, but he’s not. What’s your advice to him?” the host asked.
“Does he want to be the man that goes down in history as who destroyed UKIP?” the MEP mused. “Our activists, our candidates, our donors, all the key people we need to make the party run are going to get disillusioned and walk away.”
Jo inquired “You think this could mark the end of UKIP if Henry Bolton refuses to step down?”
“I think if this is protracted over 3 months, I mean we’ve got 28 days until the EGM happens” Batten explained. “If the EGM endorses the decision of the National Executive Committee and he still refuses to go, then we have to have a leadership election.” “We can put in an Interim Leader who can steady the party through the local election period and I offered my services, as did Mike Hookem, my colleague, to be the Interim Leader to take us through that period. Neither of us have” “ambitions to be Leader, but we’re prepared to step in and actually guide the party through this difficult period.”
“You say this is a crisis that could end with the collapsing of the party if Henry Bolton doesn’t take the action you think he needs to do” the host said. “There have been 7 leaders if he steps down, including the 2 Interim. Surely UKIP was already in crisis.”
“We’ve been written off more times than Count Dracula” Gerard answered. “We don’t go away for a very good reason, which is the people that make up this party are motivated by a genuine belief” “in making our country an independent sovereign nation again and we are the only people that actually fulfil that market segment.” “Conservative party doesn’t really want to leave, Labour party doesn’t seem to know what its policy is anyway, and we are the only people who have been consistent over 25 years about leaving the European Union and restoring our country as an independent democratic nation state.” (Well said Gerard!)
“What about the membership, because this vote that is going to happen” “is of the party membership, who voted for Henry Bolton to become Leader.”
Batten pointed out that Henry received only 29% of the vote.
“Let’s say he gets all of his support turning out and they vote for him to stay. Will you accept that?”
“Yes, if they vote to keep him, but I don’t see that happening.” (No, Gerard, neither do I.) “What I hear from our head office is” “90% of the communications were against Henry.” “I have had literally dozens and hundreds of emails, texts, telephone calls from people asking” and demanding that the Leader abdicates. “I don’t think he has much support amongst the ordinary members.”
“You say you haven’t got ambitions to be Leader, but you’re happy to step in the Interim. Henry Bolton said it will end the party if there’s another leadership contest.”
“It will end the party if he stays” the MEP retorted. “He is not UKIP. UKIP is made up of thousands of members, activists who devote their own time, money and effort for this and have sacrificed much over the years. He is not UKIP, they are UKIP and they have said” that they want him to relinquish his position.
Coburn questioned what a leadership election costs.
“I’m not actually sure, we’d have to write to all the members and then we’d have to hire a venue, but what I’ve also been told is that the backers of our party, who are currently not donating money to elections” “will put money forward in order to have an EGM in order to get rid of Henry.” He refused to name anybody.
“Is the party now in a very poor financial situation?” the host asked.
“I wouldn’t say it’s in a great one” Batten replied. “But then every political party in the history of politics has always had financial crises, this happens to all of us and this is unfortunately because politics is a black hole into which you pour money.” “Our weakness is that we can’t sell people knighthoods and lordships, which I don’t think we’d want to do anyway, and we don’t have the big trade unions behind us or big business.”
“So can you afford to run a leadership contest?”
“If we have to, we will. We’ll find a way.”
“Are you down to your last few pence?”
“I’m not the Treasurer, you’d have to ask him that.” “I know that we are in a difficult position but we’ve still got a party and it’s still maintaining itself.”
“Would you join Nigel Farage’s party if he starts a new one?” she queried.
“Is he starting a new one?”
“He said yesterday he wasn’t.” “I only know what I read in the papers because he hasn’t discussed it with me, but I believe he was reported as saying that and then denied it.”
“Do you think it’s a good idea for him to start a new party?”
“No. It wouldn’t be a party, it would be the Nigel Farage fan club.” He heaped praise on Sir Nigel for winning the referendum. “It’s very difficult now to start a new party and why would you want to go and start a new one when you could come back to this one and lead it? I’m sure that if he put his name in the hat to be Leader, then he would be elected.”
Coburn asked how many frontbench spokespersons we have left.
“I’m not sure, I know at least 5 or 6 have gone.” He doesn’t expect many to stay. “I resigned as the Brexit Spokesman for Henry, but I’m happy to talk about Brexit at the drop of a hat.”
I completely agree with Batten on the prudence of removing Henry Bolton via an EGM and placing an Interim Leader at the helm until after the local elections. I think Gerard would be the ideal choice.
He’s an MEP, so he is politically experienced and receives a regular income, unlike Bolton. He is a founding member of UKIP and still remains after all this time, even amongst the chaos caused by the current Leader’s infidelity and lies, which indicates party loyalty. The fact that he didn’t stand in our last leadership election corroborates his assertion that he does not want to be Leader but is willing to temporarily take the reins.
Though we do not want to be seen as a 1 issue party, escaping the EU’s clutches is the highest priority. He always speaks well, particularly about our withdrawal from the continental bloc, which is not surprising, as until his recent protest resignation, he was our Brexit Spokesman and he wrote UKIP’s plan for Brexit – an extremely long but brilliant read! I had already decided to author an article about this plan, but I have yet to get round to it.
He has also pledged to work well with others, even if he is not in the top role, also unlike Bolton who during the last leadership election exhibited an arrogant “I’m Leader or nothing” attitude.
Supposedly, John Rees Evans left the party because Bolton had no place for Direct Democracy in UKIP. Once the adulterous failure is out of the way, maybe the way can be paved to welcome JRE and AMW back into the fold. I would also try to tempt the likes of Steven Woolfe into returning. But the most immediate need is to eject Bolton and instate an Interim Leader of Gerard Batten’s calibre.