Sunday, 29 November 2009
UKIP in crisis: Batten & Sinclaire slam Farage and Pearson over proposed Tory deal
And so it begins. The start of the big split?
But that is what happens when you go behind the backs of half your MEPs, the NEC and the bulk of the membership.
From The Times:
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) faces a "wave of resignations" amid grassroots fury that the anti-EU party's new leader offered to stand down candidates at the next election and disband if the Conservatives agreed to hold a referendum on EU membership.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch, winner of the ballot to replace Nigel Farage, faces a rocky start to his leadership after The Times revealed on Saturday that he proposed a deal to the Tory leader in the Lords that would have seen UKIP abandon plans to stand at the general election.
Gerard Batten, the London MEP who was runner-up for the leadership, said he was appalled by the secret plan and said that members would not have chosen Lord Pearson if they had known the full truth during the contest.
Nikki Sinclaire, MEP, who came third for the leadership, said that she was being called by angry members threatening to resign but directed her anger at Mr Farage for asking Lord Pearson to make the approach to Lord Strathclyde.
The row threatens to overshadow UKIP's plans to reach out to disaffected Labour voters by switching its focus to include campaigning against radical Islam.
"I am appalled they can offer to sell the party down the river to the Tories — it is a betrayal of the members and we will probably see a wave of resignations over this," Mr Batten said yesterday.
"If he had run in the leadership election telling people that is what he had done, he would have come bottom. The membership do not want it and it has caused outrage.
"I have been saying all along we have not just got to talk to the Tory voters but also the Labour voters who are not going to vote Labour any more. This makes it much more difficult.
"Having a Lord as leader of the party who is trying to do deals with the Tories is going to make it that much harder to win the disenchanted working class votes."
Ms Sinclaire said:"I do not see what legitimacy Nigel had to make such a deal. A lot of members feel very cheated judging by the amount of phone calls I have received.
"Ultimately the members should have been consulted to have negotiations with any party, it should have gone to a referendum among the membership. People have contacted me talking about resigning."
But she added that she still supported Lord Pearson as leader, saying: "He was the messenger and we should not shoot the messenger."
UKIP is planning to put up the boxing promoter Frank Maloney as its candidate in Barking to take on Nick Griffin in the general election, The Times understands.
Mr Maloney, who stood for UKIP as London Mayor in 2004, will be a controversial choice because of his homophobic remarks during the mayoral campaign, when he said: "I don't want to campaign around gays...I don't think they do a lot for society."
End of article.
To view the original: LINK