The exodus of UKIP MEPs is starting to turn from a trickle into a flood with Bill Etheridge becoming the latest Kipper to quit the party in protest at Gerard Batten’s leadership.
Etheridge accused Batten of allowing his “personal obsessions” to change the party “beyond all recognition” in a stinging resignation statement:
“The changes you have made since becoming leader have changed the party beyond all recognition. You have allowed your personal obsessions free reign. The party is now seen by large swathes of the British public as a vehicle for hate towards Muslims and the Gay community…”
Batten has bitten back in characteristic style:
“I hope that Mr Etheridge will do the decent and honourable thing and resign his seat, thereby handing it back to UKIP to which it morally belongs.
“I am sure the loss of his salary, daily allowance, and pension rights would be a small price to pay for a man of principle such as he.
“It was a great pity that Mr Etheridge was unable to make it to the UKIP Conference in Birmingham last month where he could have witnessed the party members fully behind my leadership – the people who put him in the seat he currently holds by dint of their efforts and donations.”
At this rate, will Batten even have any UKIP MEPs left by the time Britain leaves the EU next March?