Will take that as a no…
The Tories have asked UKIP not to field a candidate in Hartlepool to try to help them win the seat from Labour. The incumbent Labour MP Iain Wright is standing down and leaves behind a precarious 3,024 majority. The Tory request to UKIP, sent by the Tory group leader on Hartlepool Council Ray Martin-Wells, asks:
“Following on from UKIP’s decision not to stand in Middlesborough South, Tynemouth and Berwick, we would respectfully ask you to withdraw your parliamentary candidate in Hartlepool… Hartlepool constituency polls are showing that UKIP has only a predicted 6% chance of winning, against Labour’s 34% and the Conservatives 50%… your chances of winning are extremely low…”
Is this an attractive proposition for UKIP? The UKIP candidate came second in Hartlepool in 2015, several thousand votes ahead of the Tories. It’s a council stronghold and a target parliamentary seat, where it was rumoured Paul Nuttall himself might have stood. And the “constituency polls” quoted by the Tories are only local newspaper surveys. Indeed, UKIP have rejected the proposal and instead suggested:
“I call upon you now to choose to do the decent thing and step aside yourselves…”
A real three way marginal…
Arron Banks’s favoured candidate in Clacton has quit UKIP after party HQ dropped him amid a storm over Muslim-bashing tweets. When Banks himself bottled standing in the seat back in April, he threw his support behind UKIP councilor Jeff Bray. Bray said on receiving the nomination:
“It didn’t hurt that I got the backing from Arron Banks after he decided not to stand. Arron came down here… he recognised we are doing a good job… He made the decision to back me, which was a huge honour.”
Bray’s selection has been a bit of a disaster after controversial tweets and a dodgy Facebook page were unearthed carrying his name:
Bray claimed he couldn’t remember the posts and suggested they had been manipulated, but today he has quit the party after he was dropped in favour of NEC member Paul Oakley. Bray said:
“I had the support of the local people and the national party have ignored this and chosen one of their own who told the meeting that all he knew about Clacton was that he had spent a holiday here when he was 10. The party has absolutely no chance of holding the seat.”
Arron’s man crashes and burns, UKIP have a mountain to climb in Clacton…
UKIP launched its immigration policy this morning pledging a “balanced migration” system which the party says would result in zero net immigration over the next five years. This puts clear water between UKIP and the Tories on the main issue where they can now distinguish themselves…
More pressingly, when asked by Guido about his accommodation arrangements in the Boston and Skegness constituency where he is standing, Paul Nuttall said:
“Firstly I haven’t bought a house in Boston and Skegness but nor did I buy a house in Stoke. And will I be staying in the constituency? Probably at some point, yeah.”
Nuttall’s pledge to “probably at some point” stay in the constituency comes after a house he listed as his home on his nomination form for the Stoke by-election was found empty Michael Crick. Hope Paul invites Guido round for a cuppa when he eventually finds a place…
The protesters who disrupted Paul Nuttall’s press conference this morning are die-hard Socialist Workers Party activists and their leader was embroiled in the notorious rape cover-up that blighted the hard-left group. Weyman Bennett led a small number of protesters who shouted and waved placards at UKIP’s campaign launch at the Marriott County Hall. The protesters did not deny their SWP background but told Guido: “A large number of groups are involved in Stand Up to Racism“. Asked if they were veteran agitators one joked: “It’s not my first protest”…
A member of the SWP’s central committee, Bennett was implicated in the cover-up of well-publicised rape allegations against an ultra-left ally referred to as “Comrade Delta“. The police were kept out, the accused was declared “ not guilty ” at the SWP national conference and the case led to Jeremy Corbyn being criticised for sharing a platform with Bennett.
Today Bennett and his fellow protesters shouted obscenities and chased away journalists covering the event, after UKIP’s patient press officers politely asked them to leave. Real nasty pieces of work…
Paul Nuttall tells Iain Dale he IS standing on June 8. Announcement on the seat in the next 48 hours…
He’s not standing in Clacton after all:
I today met with all of the UKIP councillors in Clacton and senior party figures.
It was a constructive meeting and it was great to see everyone come together.
It’s clear that Douglas Carswell has been a hugely divisive figure and let a lot of people down in Clacton.
The local branch of UKIP was full of genuinely decent people. One of the councillors, Mr Jeff Bray has put his name forward as a candidate for the seaside constituency at the forthcoming General Election.
I have a consequently made the decision to withdraw my candidacy for the seat of Clacton. I will not be standing either as a UKIP candidate or as an independent. Instead, I am putting my full support behind Jeff Bray.
I have no intention of standing in the way of Hard working activists who are the soul of the party.
Therefore, after visiting Clacton I believe it would be wrong of me to stand against Jeff in the forthcoming hustings.
Predictable, hardly anything Arron promises ever comes off…
Full list of things Arron has promised that never happened:
- Judicial review of EU referendum designation
- Hollywood movie about Brexit
- Invoicing UKIP £200,000
- Patriotic Alliance
- Clacton candidacy
- Pirate radio station in Clacton
- Fielding candidates to oust 100 MPs
- Draining the Swamp at the next election.
- Suing Matthew Elliott CEO of the official Vote Leave
Take note Lobby hacks…
Paul Nuttall has done a Ken Livingstone – barricading himself inside a room in the Marriott County Hall to hide from the Lobby’s questions about whether he will stand in the election. There is no escape:
Here is Nuttall setting in for the long haul. This picture from inside the room:
Who will break first: the UKIP leader or Her Majesty’s press corps? And why won’t Nuttall say if he’s standing on June 8?
UPDATE: Nuttall escapes into a taxi:
— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) April 24, 2017
He still won’t say if he’s standing…
Pics via the Lobby.
UKIP going big on Islam this morning:
- Ban face coverings. Nuns and beekeepers exempt.
- Ban sharia law
- Make girls at risk of FGM have annual medical examinations. Err…
- Presumption of prosecution for parents of FGM girls
- All official documents in English alone. What about the Welsh?
- Make Pakistani grooming a hate crime
- Make “honour” crimes an aggravating factor
- Muslim schools taken over by DfE if found to be teaching anti-Israel sentiment
- Moratorium on new Islamic state schools. That’s state schools which are Islamic, not ISIS supporters…
- Abolish postal voting on demand
Some of it very sensible – few would argue that postal voting needs to be looked at or that honour crimes need stronger punishments. Other sections a little out there. A manifesto for internet commenters…
— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) April 23, 2017
UKIP has long abandoned any claim it had to being a libertarian party, so no surprise the burqa ban is their main set piece manifesto pledge. More curiously Nuttall refused to confirm he would even stand in the election…
I have never felt more proud and honoured than when representing my Essex constituents in the House of Commons.
Over the past twelve years I have had great fun working with, and getting to know, many wonderful local people. Together, we ran all sorts of local campaigns, from safeguarding local services to getting a new seafront. Local has always come first.
As I promised in my maiden speech, I have done everything possible to ensure we got, and won, a referendum to leave the European Union – even changing parties and triggering a by election to help nudge things along. Last summer, we won that referendum. Britain is going to become a sovereign country again.
I have decided that I will not now be seeking re-election. I intend to vote Conservative on June 8th and will be offering my full support to whoever the Clacton Constituency Conservatives select as their candidate.
It is sometimes said that all political careers end in failure. It doesn’t feel like that to me today. I have stood for Parliament five times, won four times, and helped win the referendum last June. Job done. I’m delighted.
Having been an MP for about half my adult life, I believe that it is time for me to move on to other things. I look forward to being able to read newspapers without appearing in them.
It has been the highest honour to have represented Clacton in the House of Commons.
A loss to parliament. Will Arron Banks still stand?
— BBC Essex (@BBCEssex) 19 April 2017
Arron Banks, who will stand against Douglas Carswell in Clacton, has admitted in an interview with BBC Radio Essex that he “knows nothing about Clacton at all.[…] Read the rest
UKIP leader Paul Nuttall declared his party the “guard dogs of Brexit” today as he launched six tests ahead of Theresa May triggering Article 50. They all seem pretty sensible to Guido…
- Legal – “Parliament must resume its supremacy of law-making with no impediments… Britain must wholly remove itself from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice”;
- Migration – “Britain must resume full control of its immigration and asylum policies…not be bound by any freedom of movement obligation”;
- Maritime – “Restore the UK’s full maritime sovereignty and exclusive economic zone”;
- Trade – “UK must have full legal rights to set its own tariff and non-tariff barriers…WTO terms are the acceptable fall-back position”;
- Money – “There must be no final settlement payment…and no ongoing payments to the EU budget”;
- Time – “Brexit must be done and dusted by the end of 2019“.