Is UKIP Finally Finished?

MEPs resigning the whip, councillors going independent, membership despairing and disappearing – this weekend could be the end of UKIP. The UKIP NEC is meeting to decide the fate of their beleagured leader Henry Bolton. He is appearing on Peston for a potentially last interview as leader on Sunday…

UKIP have been counted out many times without being knocked-out. Is this the final count for the single issue party soon to be without an issue?

Punters Make Whittle Favourite to Beat Waters

UKIP will announce the winner of their leadership election this evening at their party conference. Most people think it has boiled down to a two-horse race, overnight betting has seen Peter Whittle become favourite (4/5) and Anne-Marie Waters move out to second favourite (5/4). Has something leaked from the Electoral Reform Society’s counting room?

This is an existential vote for UKIP, former leader Nigel Farage says the party is finished if anti-Islam Waters wins. Most of the MEPs say they will go independent and party officials tell Guido they will quit as well. We’ll know if the party is over in a few hours...

Is UKIP Finished?

If Anne Marie Waters wins Nigel Farage says UKIP is finished and there is no future for UKIP if it is led by her. With most of the votes in and the count due on Friday her noisy supporters on social media are convincing themselves she will win. The bookies agree. Calling UKIP sources who are usually in the know it is clear no one really knows. Did her recently joined UKIP supporters register in time to vote? Do most ‘Kippers pay any attention to social media? 

Guido has a hunch that Peter Whittle will win. Arron Banks’ Leave.EU has backed David Kurten. There is a surprisingly long list of candidates. The threat by the UKIP MEPs to resign en masse if Anne Marie Waters wins will surely have been noticed by ordinary members. If Anti-Sharia Anne Marie wins the UKIP rebrand at their conference this weekend will be colourful…

Anne Marie Waters’ UKIP Candidacy Challenged

UKIP leadership hopeful Henry Bolton is challenging the candidacy of anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters, accusing the party’s NEC of violating its rulebook by allowing her to stand. Bolton said:

“I believe the National Executive Committee’s decision to allow Anne-Marie Waters to stand in the party’s leadership election is in violation of the party’s Rules of Procedure… I have initiated this challenge in an attempt to preserve the governance and future of our party. There is little point in having Rules of Procedure if they are not applied…”

The party’s rules state that a leadership candidate must have been in “good standing continuously” for two years, but Waters was banned from standing as a UKIP candidate at the general election. Was a surprise that they let her on the ballot…

UKIP Leader Runners and Riders

With Farage not running, a battle for UKIP’s soul is underway between the more classical liberal / libertarian old guard and populist anti-Islam elements who are accused of trying to infiltrate the party. As ever Guido gives you your runners and riders…

  • Peter Whittle: The bookies’ favourite, Whittle withdrew from last November’s contest to endorse Paul Nuttall, becoming his deputy. Likeable and a strong media performer (former TV producer and wonk). Whittle stands in opposition to the party’s more extreme new entrants and advocates for traditional Kipper identity: “I’ve always seen UKIP as a cultural movement“. The obvious successor…
  • Anne Marie Waters: Priced in at 4/1 as the second-favourite, Waters is a former hard-left Labour Party candidate turned hard-right founder of Sharia Watch UK. She was blocked from standing as a UKIP candidate at the general election (under UKIP’s leadership rules this could become an obstacle if she is deemed as not being in “good standing” for the past two years). She set up PEGIDA’s UK branch with Tommy Robinson, who introduced her at her leadership launch last month. Waters has called Islam “a killing machine“; Nuttall has condemned her and the party will split if she wins. Rumours that Waters is flooding UKIP with new members have been exaggerated. Will UKIP block her from standing?
  • David Kurten: London Assembly member Kurten impressed on the general election campaign and was clearly on top of his education brief. Well placed sources describe him as “talented“; he has made clear his intentions to further professionalise the party. First black leader of a UK political party?
  • David Coburn: Flamboyant Scottish MEP who says he is standing “to stop entryists, dilettantes and single issue loonies“. Pro-Farage and slammed Nuttall’s campaign, criticising him for being “extremely ill-advised“. A colourful outside bet… 
  • Ben Walker: The first candidate to declare a leadership bid, 38 year-old Bristol councillor Walker says he wants to return the party to the “grassroots” and claims the number one obstacle the party faces is “itself“. He described the 2017 manifesto as “a shambles“. Advocates a name change and total re-brand…
  • Chris Wells: Thanet Council leader who proposes re-focusing the party from Brexit to adult social care; said he wouldn’t stand if Farage did, and yet to rule himself out. Chances surely hurt by UKIP’s slump in South Thanet…
  • Bill Etheridge: UKIP MEP Etheridge had been tipped but told a local paper on Friday that he is unlikely to put himself forward for fear of splitting the moderate anti-Waters vote. He said: “Whoever is the best person to maintain Nigel Farage’s legacy will be the person I back. The true libertarians in the party will have to unite behind them to defeat the common threat.” All but ruled himself out…
  • John Rees-Evans: Faragist Rees-Evans, who came third in November’s race, once claimed a “homosexual donkey” tried to rape his horse. Apart from that, he is best-known for advocating direct democracy within the party, and boasts more than 70,000 twitter followers. Said to own a survivalist compound in Bulgaria where he has a shooting range (although he said this was an “exaggeration“) . Popular but a long shot?
Alas there is no “make UKIP great again” candidacy from Raheem Kassam, he reckons UKIP is dead and is concentrating on his stateside shock-jock career. All eyes are on what is going to happen with Waters. Her brand of socialist slash EDL-lite politics would certainly be a surprise to most UKIP members…

Paul Nuttall Wins UKIP Leadership

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Paul Nuttall has won the UKIP leadership ballot and will replace Nigel Farage as UKIP leader, beating Suzanne Evans and John Rees-Evans.

Paul Nuttall – 9622 votes 62.6%
Suzanne Evans – 2973 votes 19.3%
John Rees-Evans–  2775 votes 18.1%

Rees-Evans almost managed to beat Suzanne Evans into third place despite being almost completely unknown before the contest. His social media presence was good and after walking out of a hustings he pledged to meet more UKIP members which may have helped his share of the vote. It seem that gay donkey rape comment didn’t hurt…

UPDATE: Peter Whittle is new Deputy Leader

UKIP’s John Rees-Evans Storms Out of Hustings

UKIP leadership contender and donkey gay rape banter enthusiast John Rees-Evans stormed out of a hustings in Newport last night after laying into the party hierarchy. He was angry at being told he wasn’t allowed to attack other candidates and told Guido that it was “patronising the membership”. Rees-Evans was unhappy at the hustings process which “only goes as far north as Leeds” and is now free to accept his no doubt numerous invitations from UKIP branches. At least one person has endorsed his move:

raheem

What a team they might have been.

UKIP’s First Hustings Report

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When Guido turned up at the UKIP leadership hustings last night his cover was nearly blown when Michael Crick ambushed him with a camera and asked if he was a kipper. Thankfully he managed to escape to take his seat.

Nuttall got the biggest cheer of the night and whilst almost every candidate said what the audience wanted to hear, Nuttall consistently delivered it the best. The former mayoral candidate Peter Whittle managed to praise Nuttall at every opportunity and the pair could be seen whispering like naughty children whilst the others were speaking.  Could Whittle pull out soon to endorse Nuttall?

Highlight of the night was Suzanne Evans saying she supported an English flag on every house in Emily Thornberry’s street and Peter Whittle reiterating his policy that every school should fly the Union Jack and have a picture of the Queen. Don’t forget the Victorian world map.

John Rees-Evans of gay donkey rape banter told the audience everything they didn’t want to hear including the drop in membership and the party’s empty coffers. But channelling Trump, he talked up his business success and promised to turn the party completely around by adding a comment section to the UKIP website allowing kippers to propose policy. Guido already seems to provide this.

Bottom line: Evans strong but Nuttall seems more in tune with ‘kippers. 

Leave.EU-Backed Raheem Had Little Real Support, Despite Social Media Lead

raheem-twibons-ahead
The social media profiles of UKIP’s leadership candidates show Raheem Kassam was far ahead of his rivals before he pulled out this morning. The best indicator of online campaign support was the twibbon, where supporters add a campaign slogan to their social media profiles. Raheem had 1,326 twibbons, dwarfing leadership favourite Nuttall’s 214 – and yet all the signs indicate that Nuttall will win. Despite the online support Kassam admitted this morning that one of the reasons for quitting was he couldn’t raise enough money: “While we raised enough for our deposit, and got over 200 assentors to my nomination, we could not raise enough for this to be more than a digital campaign run from SW1”. What does this tell us about the relative importance of digital campaigning?

This has implications for Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign group set up by multi-millionaire businessman Arron Banks, which backed Raheem. Leave.EU claims their huge social media reach* helped create “an extraordinary mass movement, drawing in swathes of voters neglected by the main political parties.” Banks has hinted that this will be the kernel for a new “people’s movement”. Banks is confusing “likes”, “follows” and casual clicktivism with active support. Leave.EU bought Facebook “likes” essentially by buying traffic.

Digital campaigns which enable commitment; donations, offline meetings, phone banking and membership drives do actually achieve something. Campaigns which generate clicks, petition signings and social flag counts are just virtue signalling. The casual easy click is no more substantive or permanent than what is trending online at any moment. Guido speaks as someone who garnered a million signatures and emails in one campaign, Banks has not got the beginnings of a popular movement, he has captured the virtue signals of a moment…

*As Dominic Cummings rightly points out, Facebook’s algorithms mean that Leave EU’s half-a-million “likes” are just a form of digital dick-waving, they achieve nothing in terms of visibility or extending reach. Leave.EU has less than half as many Twitter followers as @GuidoFawkes

Paddy Thinks Suzanne’s Coming Second

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Guido was in the Marquis of Granby pub earlier this afternoon when he eavesdropped on a Suzanne Evans campaign meeting with Patrick O’Flynn and Lisa Duffy. Paddy, the most high profile Kipper backing Suzanne and her effective campaign manager, was overheard to say he thinks she will come second. Which is an honest and realistic viewpoint, even if it is one Team Suzanne wouldn’t want to admit to holding publicly. Loose-lips sink ships…

UPDATE: O’Flynn confirms it.

Suzanne Evans’ Campaign Raises £10 in 2 Days

Crowdfund Suzanne

Suzanne Evans is 16/1 at the bookies behind clear favourite Paul Nuttall (1/4 on) and Raheem Kassam (8/1). She is crowdfunding her campaign to raise the £5,000 deposit needed to actually run – so far she has raised 30% of what she needs to stay in the race. Despite offering a bottle of champagne signed by Nigel Farage if you pledge £1,000, it seems to have stalled a bit and has raised only £10 in the last two days

UKIP MEPs Back Nuttall for Leader

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Front runner Paul Nuttall has begun his online campaign for the UKIP leadership, securing the public endorsement of MEPs Tim Aker, Bill Etheridge, Ray Finch, Johnathan Arnott, Jim Carver, ex MEP and legend Godfrey Bloom. UKIP council leaders Chris Wells (Thanet) and John Tennant (Hartlepool) also chip in their support. As far as Guido can tell Suzanne Evans has the public support of Patrick O’Flynn. So far Raheem has the public support of zero MEPs.

The campaigning for this mercifully short duration leadership election is, of necessity, happening online to a large degree mainly via Facebook. This morning the Facebook “Likes” for Paul Nuttall stand at 39,576, Raheem Kassam has 24,252 and Suzanne Evans is hot on his heels with 23,103.  UKIP’s membership stands at approximately 39,000…

Poll Puts Nuttall Way Ahead

runners-riders-latest

Forget the spin, Nuttall is going to win according to polling of councillors by Matthew Goodwin. His support is greater than all the other declared candidates combined. Despite Raheem running a characteristically energetic and noisy campaign he is in a distant third place…leader-ukip-poll

Kassam is optimistic about his noisy online campaign’s reach and the rhetorical backing of Arron Banks turning into financial, and more importantly, organising muscle. There is a call centre owned by Banks in Bristol that could be used to his advantage. Assuming the ever fluid rules of the NEC don’t prohibit its use…

UPDATE: Taking a leaf out of Trump’s playbook, Raheem is questioning the sample size of the poll and whining that the media is lying, despite linking to the source, where it clearly says “we surveyed nearly 150 Ukip local councillors and 91 replied”. That is a representative survey of 1 in 5 of UKIP’s councillors nationally…

Bill Etheridge Pulls Out

bill etheridge

Bill Etheridge is the first to pull out of the the UKIP leadership race, endorsing his friend Paul Nuttall:

“I always said that if a candidate better suited to take this party forward emerged I would back down and support them. That candidate has emerged.

“Paul Nuttall is not only a personal friend and an honourable man but I believe he is the only person who can effectively unite our party after the recent well publicised problems we have suffered.

“I will be supporting Paul and giving him my 100% backing. I call on all other potential candidates to follow my example and withdraw from the race to allow Paul to go forward from here and unite our party.”

Would Suzanne or Raheem pull out if Nuttall made them a deal?

Rich’s Monday Morning View

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UKIP Leadership State of Play

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With Steven Woolfe out and more candidates throwing their hats into the ring, Guido brings you an update on the UKIP leadership race:

Suzanne Evans: Quietly gathering signatures for her nomination. Her suspension has lapsed, she should be a member in good standing for 28 days (we think) and thus eligible. Bookies’ favourite. Will her closeness to the Farage-hating Carswell faction cost her with the grassroots?

Paul Nuttall: Other candidates fear Nuttall will win if he stands. This Telegraph article sounds like he wants it. Though there is no noticeable effort to gather signatures, he didn’t want to run last time and will be asking himself if it’s really worth it. Dithering or not bothering at all?

Raheem Kassam: Loudly gathering the necessary signatures. Has been campaigning hard online and thinks he has enough signatures to submit the paperwork on Sunday. If Nuttall doesn’t run there is a possibility Raheem could actually do it. His price to win is tighter than Trump’s!

Peter Whittle: UKIP’s London mayoral candidate is popular in the capital. While campaigning in Witney he appeared on one of Kassam’s campaign videos and even said his rival’s slogan: “Make UKIP Great Again”, though he tells Guido he is not on Team Raheem. Also quietly gathering signatures.

Bill Etheridge: Said he’d stand unless there was somebody he could back 100%. Accused of cheating by his fiancee. Has been round the rubber chicken circuit.

David Kurten: Lower profile, tried to be nominated as UKIP’s mayoral candidate with a false London address. When Breitbart asked him how he responded to allegations of racism in UKIP he replied: “UKIP isn’t racist, I love white people!”

Suzanne, Nuttall and Raheem are the frontrunners…

Suzanne Evans Bookies’ New Front Runner

ukiprunnersriders

Above shows the latest odds from the bookies courtesy of Betdata.io. In a situation that is very fluid the betting markets are probably the best place to gain insight into the candidate’s support – real money rather than spin. Woolfe pulling out is good for Kassam, his chances have since shot up, with a lot of his Faragist support going to Raheem. He’s running a characteristically energetic campaign online.

Suzanne Evans is the bookies’ favourite and the truth of that position is bolstered by YouGov polling:

yougov-ukip-poll

This situation will change rapidly. The YouGov polling above was done before Woolfe had quit and Kassam had declared. It is still unclear if Nuttall is definitely running. Suzanne has not exactly been campaigning hard having only had it confirmed yesterday by the UKIP NEC that she could be a candidate. Nominations close on Halloween, the full horror show finishes on November 28…

UKIP Leader Runners & Riders

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After the surprise resignation of new UKIP leader Diane James, Guido brings you the latest runners and riders in UKIP’s leadership battle (odds from Betfair):

Paul Nuttall – Evens

Forever in Farage’s shadow, Nuttall has been deputy leader of UKIP for the last six years. His Liverpudlian roots could appeal to the working class north in a way that Evans or Kassam could only ever dream. The favourite after the fracas despite not yet confirming that he is standing…

Steven Woolfe – 2/1

The front runner in the last leadership contest until he forgot to submit his papers on time. Woolfe seemed to take the latest UKIP fight literally when he was in an alleged punch up with fellow MEP Mike Hookem. No longer the favourite post fracas and leaking of his talks with the Conservative Party.

Suzanne Evans – 4/1

Suzanne Evans was a  Conservative Party councillor who defected to UKIP in 2013.  Highly praised for writing UKIP’s 2015 manifesto, she was later suspended from the party for criticising a fellow candidate. Close to Carswell. Evans’s suspension has lapsed just in time for the latest contest.

Raheem Kassam – 15/1

Nigel Farage’s former chief of staff and current London editor of Breitbart, Kassam has already launched his online campaign to be leader with the slogan “Make UKIP great again” but his odds have been widening in the last few days. Most observers think he’s really running for the deputy-leader spot. The former Conservative Party activist is making a big thing of attacking “Blue Kippers”Like Nigel he’s very much a Marmite character.

Bill Etheridge – 27/1

MEP for the West Midlands and another former Conservative Party member. In the last leadership election he was accused of cheating by his fiancee when she found a half empty packet of Viagra in his car. Lad.

UKIP’s NEC is meeting this coming Monday to determine rules and timeframe…

UPDATE: Guido is told that Peter Whittle AM, UKIP’s former candidate for London mayor is also in the running (currently 27/1). A cultured fellow, if Guido’s memory serves him right he too is also a former Conservative Party member.

Steven Woolfe Will Stand For UKIP Leadership

UKIP’s Steven Woolfe has just confirmed on Sky News that he is standing for the leadership. He attacked the National Executive Committee describing it as “no longer fit for purpose” because it prevented him from standing in the last election and disputed the fact that he got his papers in late. Woolfe praised Diane James for her “incredibly brave move” to stand down for family reasons and hinted that she had been facing opposition from the NEC. Papers Please…



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