Nigel Farage has grown a moustache. From another angle:
Nigel Farage has grown a moustache. From another angle:
Remember the curiously-timed revelation that Steven Woolfe was once nicked for being drunk in charge of a scooter? Well, a member of the public – surely not a rival ‘Kipper – called the cops and complained that he had broken the law again by failing to declare his conviction when he ran as a Police and Crime Commissioner. Greater Manchester Police have seen sense and told the complainant to stop being so silly, confirming he faces no further action. Woolfe says it was part of a plot:
“This was one of several attempts by political opponents, using information on UKIP databases, to damage my reputation and ensure I could not stand as party leader.”
Someone certainly has it in for him…
Remember those UKIP NEC members who quit in protest at Steven Woolfe being kept off the ballot? Well, they’re unresigning. Victoria Ayling and Mike McGough, who backed Woolfe in the dispute, angrily resigned from the NEC last week. Yet an email sent by party chairman Paul Oakden today says:
“Victoria Ayling has now confirmed to me that she has decided to withdraw her resignation from the NEC. As such, she should now be included in all future NEC correspondence.”
And McGough could follow suit:
“I have also spoken to Mick McGough who understands that he is still a member of the NEC, and who has said he will confirm his intentions with regard to his potential resignation by the end of the week. He too should be included in all future NEC correspondence until he has confirmed his decision to me.”
Important for the Farage faction to have as much NEC support as they can get. So they’ve taken a leaf out of his book…
An update on the UKIP situation: allies of Nigel Farage and Steven Woolfe say they have secured the 80 branches required to call an Extraordinary General Meeting. That is enough for a vote to take place on abolishing the NEC. The EGM organisers are now working to get over 100 branches as they are worried the NEC will use technicalities to dismiss the support of some of them. Last week Guido told you to keep an eye on Diane James – today key Farage ally Arron Banks has sent several tweets in support of her bid for leader. The counter-coup is bubbling away…
Five members of the UKIP NEC which voted to block Steven Woolfe from the ballot had potential conflicts of interest, leaked messages reveal. Woolfe was barred from standing by an NEC majority of 9-3. Among those who voted were Rob McWhirter, who Guido can reveal previously endorsed Lisa Duffy on a private UKIP discussion forum. On 13 July, McWhiter wrote:
“I have just posted my form assenting to her candidacy”
Another NEC voter, John Bickley, also previously posted on the UKIP forum that he is backing Duffy. He wrote on 10 July:
“She will be a very good candidate.”
The vote to stop Woolfe, Duffy’s main rival, took place three weeks later…
A third NEC voter was Alan Bown, who Lisa Duffy has publicly confirmed is her main financial backer. A fourth, Adrianne Smythe, later admitted in an email to UKIP’s lawyers that she was conflicted because “I have assented for one of the candidates”. Douglas Carswell says he doesn’t have a dog in the fight though obviously he’s not a fan of Farage, who wanted Woolfe to win. Allies of Steven Woolfe say this is evidence the NEC vote was a sham and are considering a legal challenge…
UKIP’s civil war has kicked off again this morning with a leading member of the party’s NEC comparing Team Farage to Nazi propagandists. John Bickley, part of the NEC which blocked Steven Woolfe from standing, says claims by Faragists that Woolfe was stitched up are “pure Goebbels”. He offers some further calming rhetoric, including that Farage’s allies are “insane” and come from “the conspiracy theorist wing of the party”. It must have been a coincidence that Woolfe’s 14 year-old driving offence was briefed to the press at the height of the leadership contest. UKIP are being very UKIPpy at the moment…
Allies of Nigel Farage and Steven Woolfe believe they have the numbers to call an Extraordinary General Meeting and attempt to abolish UKIP’s NEC. They need 25% of UKIP branches to vote for an EGM for one to be called. Since Woolfe was the favourite among members before he was blocked from the ballot that shouldn’t be a problem. Arron Banks says an announcement could come today and a new party constitution will be proposed…
Also worth keeping an eye on Diane James. The Faragists might like to abolish the NEC and rerun the leadership contest, but if that doesn’t happen they are left with two choices: split and form a new party, or back a candidate who is on the ballot. They want to stop Evans/O’Flynn-backed Lisa Duffy at all costs. That leaves Diane as the only credible choice…
UPDATE 10:52am: UKIP MEPs and branch chairmen are now hitting the phones to organise a resolution to call a full party EGM. Big day for UKIP behind the scenes…
UKIP have blocked Steven Woolfe from running for leader. It’s war!
UPDATE: Farage/Woolfe allies say they will call an Extraordinary General Meeting and seek to abolish the NEC. Read Guido’s story from this morning on what happens next.
UPDATE II: UKIP NEC members Victoria Ayling, Ray Finch and Mike McGough resign in protest.
UPDATE III: Steven Woolfe statement:
“I am extremely disappointed by the UKIP NEC decision to exclude me from the party’s leadership election.
“Having been a committed member of UKIP, standing for the party in multiple elections, acting as a spokesman at the highest level, I wanted to take this opportunity to stand for Leader to inject my ideas, plans and passion into the party.
“Over the course of this leadership election, the NEC has proven it is not fit for purpose and it confirmed many member’s fears that it is neither effective nor professional in the way it governs the party.
“The NEC panel have even accepted that they were wrong to raise questions of my membership of the party, as I have been a full member since 2011. They did not identify my payments in the UKIP records until I showed them my own bank statements. After providing evidence of the payments and donations I have made to the party, they were satisfied this was not an issue.
“They have failed to accept that there were serious issues with the application system despite providing evidence that attempts of submission were made before the deadline. The NEC deny this is the fault of the UKIP system.
“Furthermore, highly confidential information about me held in party documents has been leaked to the press and the NEC has not sought to investigate this gross breach of privacy.
“The NEC’s treatment of Nathan Gill over the past two weeks has also been totally unacceptable.
“Nathan is a decent and honest man, who has been in the party longer than many NEC members. He, as the leader of UKIP in Wales, led the party to victories for seven Welsh assembly members in May. His dedication to the party knows no bounds. Wales voted to leave the EU and it deserves a Eurosceptic voice in Brussels to represent the people, as the renegotiation moves ahead.
“If I were on the ballot, I would have fought to reform the internal structure of UKIP including the NEC. UKIP must professionalise and it cannot do that with an unfit NEC.
“Over the course of the past two weeks, my office and I have received thousands of messages of support from members.
“To every single one of them and all of those who have helped to support my campaign, I say a huge thank you.
“Although I am out of the contest I wish the other candidates well and hope they can show UKIP has a positive, inclusive, patriotic vision for Britain.”
You probably haven’t heard of UKIP leadership candidate Philip Broughton, but you won’t forget him after watching this video. In character as a ‘comedy’ japester, Broughton tells an audience:
“I’m clever than you, I’m better looking than all of you, I’ve got more charisma than all of you could ever dream of, and of course the important thing, I’ve got more money than any of you could possibly imagine.”
Well he did pay five grand to get on the ballot.[…] Read the rest
UKIP’s NEC has voted to expel Steven Woolfe’s campaign manager from the party, in what Woolfe’s allies claim is a plot to stop their man becoming leader. Nathan Gill, UKIP’s leader in Wales and a key ally of Nigel Farage, faces being kicked out unless he resigns as an MEP to free up a space for another candidate.[…] Read the rest
UKIP officials are meeting on Tuesday to determine if Steven Woolfe is on the leadership ballot after he missed the midday nomination deadline. Woolfe’s spokesman insists he is still a candidate and that he submitted his papers on time, claiming a technical glitch meant it didn’t go through:
[…] Read the rest
“Steven Woolfe remains a candidate in the UKIP leadership contest.
Anti-Faragist forces on UKIP’s National Executive Committee are working to keep Steven Woolfe off the ballot, according to sources in the room. The NEC is dominated by supporters of Neil Hamilton and Douglas Carswell who want to stop the Farage candidate and install Lisa Duffy as leader. […] Read the rest