UKIP Down Into Fourth on Single Figures

The LibDems are loving Brexit – every day Tim Farron delights in launching stinging attacks on Jeremy Corbyn as he seeks to clean up the Labour Remain vote with his unashamed Remoaning. UKIP meanwhile slip into fourth place for the first time in years, Britain Elects reports it is the first time they have been in single figures with YouGov since early 2013. Fight back starting? Or Brexit happening…

Arron Banks Says He’s Been Suspended By UKIP

Arron Banks says his UKIP membership has been suspended “apparently for saying the current leadership couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding”. Banks had told UKIP bigwigs that their lack of management credentials was akin to running a jumble sale, which went down about as well as his request to be made party chairman. Friends of Banks say UKIP wanted him to appear before the NEC “to be b*llocked”, to which Arron told them to “f**k off”. It is Banks’ view that the UKIP hierarchy have ultimately sided with Douglas Carswell over the Faragistas. UKIP sources counter that his membership lapsed earlier this year, remember Paul Nuttall said last month that Banks was not a member. Either way, Nuttall now has a rich, energetic enemy – Team Banks say of plans for a new party: “UKIP mark 2 – the movement is now in full speed ahead mode”…

UPDATE: How it played out on Twitter…

9:12am: Banks says he’s out:

9:19am: Carswell tweets apropos of nothing:

9:42am: Carswell clarifies:

Cheeky…

UPDATE II: Banks tells Guido the party “somehow managed to lapse my membership” and “on reapplying I was told the membership was suspended”.

Farage at Ecuadorian Embassy

Farage has been sighted entering the Ecuadorian embassy this morning:

Guido can confirm he is currently in the building. LBC exclusive interview with Assange? Nige has spent the last few weeks banging on about sexual assaults in Sweden, perhaps he is seeking expert advice…

Nuttall: I’ve Never Been Caught in Paedophile Gang

“I didn’t lie about weapons of mass destruction, I didn’t send anyone into an illegal war, I didn’t say anything racist, I’ve never been caught in a paedophile gang.”

Unconventional line of defence from Nuttall…

Carswell: Not Rejoining Tories, I’ll Stand For UKIP in 2020

Carswell rules out defecting back to the Tories and says he will stand for UKIP again, something he hasn’t committed to before. He says he is “walking on sunshine” and feels “like an emoji smiling every day”…

Nuttall Backs Carswell

Says Carswell has it in writing that he lobbied for Farage to get a knighthood, and if that is proven “I don’t see a problem…”

Farage ‘Knighted’ on Russia Today

Vlad’s TV channel pays well…

Lib Dem Donations Outstrip Labour, UKIP Short on Cash

Political party donation figures for the last quarter of 2016 are out:

Conservative and Unionist Party – £3,610,983

Liberal Democrats – £1,972,904

Labour Party – £1,970,055

Green Party – £46,228

Co-operative Party – 39,750

UK Independence Party (UKIP) – £33,228

Women’s Equality Party – £30,000

The Lib Dems have had a fantastic quarter, narrowly beating Labour to take their place as the second best-funded party over the period. UKIP are struggling – they took just three grand more than the Women’s Equality Party. The LibDems are cashing in on being anti-Brexit, they just got a million quid donation from Greg Nasmyth. Guido hears they have secured another major donation from a Blairite former Labour donor which we can expect to see in the next Electoral Commission figures…

Hacks Aired Farage-graph Concerns to Editor

“The Telegraph has become the Farage-graph”, declares ConHome this morning, as the paper puts yet another pro-Nigel, pro-Arron Banks story on its front page. The number of pro-Farage stories featuring on Telegraph front pages over the last few months has been notably disproportionate considering the relative size and significance of UKIP, and the fact Nige isn’t leader anymore. Added to that are Telegraph “Breakfast with Farage” events, not to mention op-ed after op-ed by Nigel. The new obsession is going down badly in the more liberal, metropolitan newsroom.

At a recent staff meeting, one brave journalist raised their hand and spoke about the recent Farage-centric coverage. The Barclays may like UKIP and they may host parties for Farage at the Ritz they mused, Telegraph readers however tend to be old Tories who don’t care much for the ‘Kippers. The concern in the newsroom is that the paper is running so many puff pieces for Farage and Banks because Banks is trying to buy the paper. Rumours have been circulating for months that Banks has been putting together a consortium of Brexit-backing donors to stump up the £250 million asking price – rumoured possible backers doing the rounds include Malcolm Pearson, David Stevens, Stuart Wheeler, Peter Cruddas and Michael Ashcroft. Asked if this was a possibility, Telegraph editor Chris Evans avoided the question and told his staff to follow the news. The prospect of a Banks-backed takeover has become the subject of gallows humour in the newsroom, though surely – without a lot of help – Arron just doesn’t have enough money?

Farage Backs Banks in Clacton

Asked if he would back Douglas Carswell or Arron Banks in Clacton, Nigel Farage replied: “it doesn’t take much working out“. Farage was twisting the fish knife at a hurriedly called Fishing For Leave press conference this morning, attacking “posh boy” Carswell:

“He should have gone in 2015, he’s been sabotaging… We’ve got a new leader of UKIP who needs to be given a chance… If the MP is doing you harm, you’d be better off without him… Quite why Douglas joined the party when he disagrees with the policies I don’t know. “

Farage denied he was the party’s “backseat” leader and joked the infighting in UKIP is “almost as bad as in the Labour Party.” Around 30 hacks were lured hook, line and sinker on the promise of a Farage appearance, only to hear Owen Paterson lengthily outline the future of British fishing after Brexit. An important issue to be sure, not a big draw for the media crowd in SW1…

Meanwhile Michael Heaver, Farage’s former spokesman, says of Carswell’s “infiltration” of the party: “Forget U.K.I.P, it was more K.G.B“. Carswell has been summoned by Paul Nuttall to meet UKIP’s chairman this afternoon…

UPDATE: Fightin’ talk from Arron Banks: “We will have a high street shop in Clacton, professional agent appointed soon and I will be rolling my sleeves up.”

UPDATE II: Team Carswell say he is “supremely relaxed”.

UPDATE III: To which Banks’ sidekick Andy Wigmore responds: “Bollox [sic] old wonky jaw is toast”.

Arron Banks Says He’ll Stand in Clacton Against Carswell

The UKIP feuding continues. Last week Arron demanded Nuttall made him UKIP’s party chairman or he will not donate any more money – a hostile take over offer rejected by Patrick O’Flynn. Last night he said he will stand against UKIP’s only MP, Douglas Carswell. Presumably for his new political movement…

The trigger for this is that Carswell is alleged by Banks to have blocked a knighthood for Nigel Farage. Carswell says on the contrary he spoke to the government Chief Whip Gavin Williamson – who holds considerable sway with the honours committee – in support of a knighhood for Nigel. Carswell joked in an email to Lord Pearson that maybe they should set their sights lower and aim for an OBE next time. This has enraged Farage and Banks who see it as more evidence that Carswell is a cuckoo in the UKIP nest – they are urging Nuttall to sack Carswell. As usual UKIP are fighting among themselves instead of their opponents…

Any rational observer might think that UKIP would be better off marshalling its limited resources towards winning another seat, not undermining UKIP’s 3,437 slim majority over the Tories in Clacton. Nuttall, who stood on a unity ticket, knows this…

O’Flynn Rejects Arron Banks’ Hostile UKIP Take-Over Offer

Nuttall Getaway: “Where the F**k’s the Car?”

Exasperated ‘Kipper Lisa Duffy cried: “Where the hell’s the car? Where the f**k’s the car?” as Nuttall made a hasty getaway last night. Taxi…

Carswell: Likely Labour Have Won Stoke

Douglas Carswell all but concedes Stoke:

“I think the most likely outcome is that Labour will win… Stoke is not even in our top 50 target seats.”

Kippers on the ground do not sound particularly confident. Result by 3am…

By-Election Scenarios and Permutations

It is wet and windy up in Stoke and Copeland and by 4 a.m. on Friday morning one of several possible scenarios will be playing out. Guido takes you through your by-election scenarios…

Stoke-on-Trent Central

Labour win, UKIP second, Tories third

If Gareth Snell holds Stoke for Labour then the man who once called Jeremy Corbyn an “IRA supporting friend of Hamas” will, ironically, have helped save Jez. He will have won a seat that has always been safely Labour. Defeat will see Paul Nuttall face criticism from UKIP’s Faragists – remember Farage last week piled on the pressure by saying Nuttall had to win. Jez will be safe…

Labour win, Tories second, UKIP third

If the Tories come ahead of UKIP then the Faragists will actively move against a humiliated Nuttall. Hillsborough, rightly or wrongly, will have damaged him beyond repair. UKIP could have their sixth change of leader in under two years.

UKIP win

Should Labour lose to UKIP, the PLP will be mutinous. Corbyn’s office will blame Tony Blair’s Brexit speech, accusing him of a deliberate act of sabotage. Corbyn will face huge pressure from the left to hand over to Rebecca Long-Bailey or Clive Lewis. Moderates will demand his resignation and discuss another leadership challenge. UKIP will have its second MP, Nuttall becoming a loud Brexiter in the Commons and a credible new voice for working class voters. UKIP will be on the verge of a mainstream tipping point…

Tories win

Should the Tories come from nowhere to win, Corbyn could be toast. The realisation of a Tory one party state and a Scotland-style wipeout of Labour across England will dawn on the Corbynistas. Even Jezza’s closest allies will tell him his time is up. 25 year-old Jack Brereton will be the youngest Tory MP.

Copeland

Tories win

Tory victory in Copeland means Corbyn will face renewed calls to quit from Labour moderates. Owen Jones types will air further doubts about the Corbyn project. Eyes will be on Long-Bailey and Lewis. There will be talk of a summer leadership challenge. Corbyn’s views on the nuclear industry will have been key. Theresa May’s approach to Brexit will be emboldened. A Tory win is already priced in, this will not be a shock to SW1…

Labour win

Labour victory against the odds means Corbyn is safe, or safer if Labour has lost Stoke. Fighting dirty on the NHS will have worked. Talk of a Tory takeover of Northern seats will be deemed premature. An ardent Remainer will have won in a big Leave constituency. May’s awkward visit, in which she failed to answer questions on local NHS services, will be a major embarrassment for Number 10.

UKIP win

You are kidding.

Stay with Guido for coverage during the day and through the night…

Nuttall Declares War on Banks

Paul Nuttall has publicly condemned Arron Banks for his Hillsborough comments and dismissed UKIP’s main donor as a non-party member. Remember Banks is a Faragista – and Faragistas do not get on with Nuttall. This is going to get very messy if Nuttall performs badly on Thursday…

Nuttall: I’m Victim of Cruel and Evil Smear Campaign… But I’m Sorry

Long standing ovation for Nuttall after he addresses the week’s events at the UKIP spring conference…

UPDATE: Emotional scenes via Reuters:

New Tory Attack Ad on Nuttall

The Tories are releasing this attack video on Paul Nuttall this afternoon. Giving Labour a helping hand in Stoke to save Jez?

Farage: Nuttall Must Win Stoke

Farage tells UKIP’s spring conference that victory in Stoke is fundamental to the party’s future. No pressure…

Arron Banks Sues Over Russia Claims

Arron Banks is suing Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council, which accused him of serving as a “key pro-Russian actor in the UK”. He’s unhappy with their report “The Kremlin’s Trojans”, which describes Banks and Leave.EU / Grassroots Out as having links with “pro-Russian figures”, namely UKIP and George Galloway. […] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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