The next victim of the UKIP bloodletting is the party’s Director of Communications, Paul “Gobby” Lambert. He has told ITV that he is on holiday and not coming back.
Comms chief at @UKIP Paul Lambert tells me he is on leave. But he answers 'no' when I ask if he's coming back
— Chris Ship (@chrisshipitv) May 15, 2015
The level of sniping and negative briefing between Farage’s camp and the UKIP press office increased throughout the election campaign and reached a crescendo yesterday, with a Farage aide claiming “the press office has declared war on the leader”. This allegation was flatly denied by a source in the press office, who insisted “pretty much everybody are Farage loyalists” and that “Gobby [has been] desperately trying to keep the peace”. Seems that proved an impossible task…
Farage meanwhile is going after an unnamed senior UKIP figure who he claims is undermining him: “there is one person in UKIP agitating for change and he hasn’t had the courage to come out in public… that person better put up or shut up or go”. Who could he possibly mean…
As UKIP’s civil war plays out in the open, here is Guido’s guide to who is backing whom:
The “coup team” led by O’Flynn and Carswell has the support of much of UKIP HQ, especially in the press office, where Gobby and other junior spinners are on board.
Steven Woolfe and Tim Aker signalled their support for the plotters by publicly tweeting back Carswell, but they are said to be sitting on the fence rather than outright supporting a coup.
The Farage loyalists are made up of the old guard ‘Kippers like deputy leader Paul Nuttall and Steve Crowther, as well as money man Arron Banks. They are joined by three of Farage’s closest aides, Raheem Kassam, Chris Bruni-Lowe and Matthew Richardson, whom O’Flynn declared war on this morning in the Times.
Whose side are you on?
UPDATE: UKIP donor Stuart Wheeler now says of Farage “I would like him to step down at least for the moment.”
UKIP got through their women’s policy launch without anyone being called a slut or told to clean behind their fridge. The only hitch was the big sign at the back falling on their comms chief Paul “Gobby” Lambert, who continues to look as if he is having the time of his life since moving over to the dark side. Is he going to resign?
I am delighted to announce that Paul 'Gobby' Lambert is set to become UKIP's new Director of Communications. He's one of the best in town.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) December 7, 2014
In view of today's announcement think I shall be applying for the now vacant job of shouting "Are you going to resign Minister?"
— Media Guido (@MediaGuido) December 7, 2014
Gobby is quite simply a Westminster legend. His actual name is Paul Lambert and he says “UKIP is today the place to be if you want to be a part of a party that is changing the face of British politics for the better…”. When a senior UKIP source told Guido this was on the cards last week, Guido just did not believe them. Let’s see how he copes with being on the other side of the camera…