Roger Knapman remains one of UKIP's most important and most popular figures.
He is credited with leading the party to a sensational victory in 2004, when UKIP changed the British political scene forever, and sent chills down the spines of the political elite. It was Knapman's contacts and political savvy that brought movers and shakers into the party, and developed the substantial talent within the party's many branches. Knapman is a wealthy man, with a highly successful political career behind him, a close-knit and successful family, and many, many friends from all walks of life. And boy, is Nigel Farage jealous!
Farage is seething with indignation over Marta Andreassen's attacks on his leadership abilities, his financial affairs, and his inability to get on with people. In a dignified and restrained manner, Knapman issued a statement of support, in which he expressed his hopes for a better future for the party. In the typical nasty and vindictive style, one of Farage's acolytes - possibly the republican sympathiser Herman Kelly - issued a statement attacking Knapman. This was printed on the website of Parliament magazine, but following a complaint it was subsequently edited, removing some of the more vicious words.
It is typical to note that Farage himself was not quoted. He was nicknamed by some of his staff in Brussels as "Macavity" - when anything bad happens, Macvity is never there.
He not only lacks Knapman's wealth, charm, and delightful family life, but Farage, who never completed his education, is also utterly devoid of the political savvy that enabled his predecessor to build UKIP into a successful political force. No "Mr 2%" is Roger Knapman, who will go down in history as one of the Maastricht rebels, sacrificing his future in the Conservative party on a point of principle.
It is widely held that it was Farage who gave the story - complete with spin - about Knapman's employment of Polish labourers on the renovation of his substantial home. This is, of course, the man who claimed to have been on a flight with Chris Huhne just in order to get his little face in front of a camera. When questioned by police, it was revealed that this was untrue. Not only did he set out to deceive, but he has wasted the time of an already overstretched police force. Nigel Farage is not fit to clean Roger Knapman's shoes.