Monday’s NEC Meeting: What We Know So Far – Veterans, Logo, Leadership Election & More
The UKIP NEC met for the first time since Gerard Batten’s appointment as interim leader on Monday to discuss a number of pressing issues. We’ve been speaking to various NEC members and we’ve learnt a lot about what was discussed.
From the leadership election to membership fees to the ‘Lenny the Lion’ logo, there were a number of controversial issues discussed and we now have a fair idea of what decisions were made on each of them.
When will official communication be sent about the meeting?
We aren’t sure exactly when to expect official communication but we understand that all members will be sent a letter from Gerard explaining the decisions taken at some point soon. We presume that minutes will be uploaded to MyUKIP shortly.
Who has Gerard appointed?
While we are still awaiting news of Gerard’s spokesman appointments, we do know that he has appointed Mike Hookem MEP as Deputy Leader, Tony McIntyre as Chairman and Margot Parker MEP as Deputy Chairman.
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We’re expecting spokesmen to be announced over the next few days, though this is pure speculation at this stage.
When will the leadership election be?
We don’t yet have a specific date but, contrary to some reports, we have confirmed that there will be a leadership election within 90 days of the EGM, as per the party constitution.
There were a number of calls to extend Gerard’s interim leadership to last 6 months, but this is not allowed for in the constitution and therefore cannot happen.
Veterans Against Terrorism
For a section of the meeting, leaders of prominent activist group Veterans Against Terrorism were invited to discuss their plans with UKIP going forward. As Kipper Central reported this afternoon, the UKIP NEC voted unanimously in favour of a proposal from Gerard Batten to officially support the group and to offer a £20 annual party membership for veterans.
The veteran leaders made clear to the NEC that they don’t intend to change UKIP or influence its politics; they simply want to be boots on the ground to promote policy and campaign in elections, as well as of course holding protests as they have done so well in the past.
‘Lenny the Lion’ logo
It was decided at the meeting that the party would now be moving back to the old pound sign as the primary logo, putting an end to the 5-month reign of the infamous lion logo brought in by Steven Crowther at the same conference where Henry Bolton was declared leader.
But if you’re in love with Lenny (or if you’ve bought too much merchandise to afford a switch), fear not! Both logos are officially registered and are allowed for campaigning, though the party will be heading towards removing the lion in the long term.
As you may have read last week, Kipper Central and UKIP Daily (The ‘Editor’s Coalition’) have proposed a communications strategy to the NEC, setting out a plan for a more horizontal communications structure rather than a vertical top-down approach as we currently adopt. The strategy laid out multiple cost-free ways in which the party could work with Kipper Central and UKIP Daily and more broadly improve their communications with the grassroots membership.
We have been told there was “great enthusiasm” for the proposals, but that other IT issues were a higher priority at the present moment in time.
Under Henry Bolton, standard UKIP membership fees were increased to £35 per year, with students membership rising by 900% and the option for a five-year membership removed. These changes were extremely controversial and were seen by many to be the downfall of Henry’s leadership.
We have been told that Gerard will be introducing a special membership offer for his interim period as leader, though we are unsure how much this offer will be and who it will affect.
The NEC, we are told, agreed that constitutional reform will be needed under the new leader, whether or not that is Gerard. This is likely to include changes to the no confidence procedure which faced much criticism for not being inclusive of all members when the mechanism was used to remove Henry Bolton at the EGM. It also likely to include changes to the way the NEC are elected and their powers, as well as possible changes to introduce a fairer voting system like AV for leadership elections.
The NEC elections will take place before May, and they will be a particularly unusual set of elections for there are more positions up for grabs than normal and they have been postponed for a number of months. In addition to the five seats up for election as scheduled, there have been two seats which have changed in the last year due to the resignations of Anish Patel who defected to For Britain, and Steve Crowther who announced his resignation at the EGM. They were both replaced by the candidate on the list who received the next most votes.
There are also another four NEC members whose terms expire in November this year and it is possible that they will also be reelected in this batch of elections prior to May, though this is unclear.