Is it Corbyn or the mainstream media who’s “lost the plot”?

Tomorrow’s Daily Mail predictably attacks Jeremy Corbyn for having “lost the plot”, choosing to print a photograph of the Labour leader gardening on his allotment as the storm clouds gathered and seven of his rebellious MPs broke away to form an “Independent Group”.

Their assumption seems to be that it was somehow weird or arrogant for Corbyn to be on his allotment at such a time.

I wonder whether voters will see it that way? They don’t share the obsessions of political journalists and part of Corbyn’s success at the 2017 election was because (despite his ‘extremist’ policies) many Britons saw him as a normal bloke – his allotment and Arsenal allegiances were part of that.

If most voters were concerned about Corbyn’s previous associations with Sinn Fein, or his links with alleged ‘antisemites’, then they would have ditched the Labour Party long ago.

The Jewish Chronicle has long attacked Corbyn for ‘antisemitism’: most voters don’t care

Sadly for Fleet St, and sadly for many H&D readers, most Labour voters are probably more concerned about the effects of Tory austerity cuts than they are about terrorism in Northern Ireland, arguments about Zionism and ‘antisemitism’, or even Britain’s membership of the EU.

That’s why when in 2017 Theresa May offered them the opportunity to elect a House of Commons committed to securing Brexit, the voters instead returned the present hung parliament.

Doubtless the latest split will do some electoral damage to Labour, but a great deal might depend on whether the Tories also split, and especially on whether really heavyweight Tories can be persuaded to join the breakaway.

Latest rumours are that a gang of four female Tory MPs are most likely to defect: Anna Soubry (who has already removed references to the Conservative Party from her Twitter biography), Dr Sarah Wollaston, former cabinet minister Justine Greening, and Heidi Allen.

Perhaps a bigger prize would be Sir Alan Duncan, who is still in Theresa May’s government as a Foreign Office Minister of State responsible for Europe and the Americas. Whereas some of the defectors are pretty much in the ‘wet’ Tory Reform Group (TRG) tradition, Alan Duncan was closely associated with William Hague and in his student days was a leading figure in the so-called ‘Magdalen machine’, the main ‘right-wing’ rival to TRG inside the Oxford University Conservative Association.

In common with several other leaders of the ‘Magdalen machine’, Sir Alan is a homosexual. He is also unusual among modern Tories in taking a broadly pro-Palestinian line on Middle East matters, and was among the main targets for the covert Israeli Embassy lobbyist Shai Mosat, exposed by Al Jazeera in 2017.

In this respect Sir Alan would make an unusual ally for the solidly pro-Zionist Labour faction who have created the ‘Independent Group’. However it’s possible these hardcore Zionists might welcome him for this very reason, as it would help to deflect suspicions that the whole business is a Mossad plot to prevent a Corbyn premiership!

Labour splits: is this the end of the two-party system?

This morning the long-expected split began in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Seven MPs resigned and will now sit as an ‘Independent Group’ in the House of Commons.

The group includes one relic of the 1990s New Labour project, Stockport MP Ann Coffey who was Tony Blair’s parliamentary private secretary. However another is Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East, who during New Labour’s civil war was a supporter of Gordon Brown rather than Blair, and is married to one of Brown’s former aides.

Two others are among the most strongly pro-Zionist MPs in Parliament: Luciana Berger, Jewish MP for Liverpool Wavertree, and Mike Gapes, who though not Jewish himself is best known for his five years as a very pro-Zionist chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.

It seems likely that some of Corbyn’s other Jewish critics have deliberately avoided joining the rebel group because they didn’t want it to be perceived as disproportionately Jewish. If significant numbers join the seven initial members, one would expect them eventually to include Dame Margaret Hodge and Dame Louise Ellman, though the latter has tweeted that she will continue to “fight the virus of antisemitism in the Labour Party from within”.

For the time being the “Independent Group” will not be a registered political party and will not fight elections. This avoids them having to contest the forthcoming local elections in May, where they would doubtless be crushed.

Chuka Umunna, effective leader of the Independent Group and once seen as a future Labour Prime Minister – has he committed political suicide?

Yet the intellectual leader of the group, half-Nigerian MP for Streatham, Chuka Umunna, has strongly implied that he sees the group evolving into a new “centrist” party. Umunna is a former City lawyer whose maternal grandfather, Sir Helenus ‘Buster’ Milmo, was the leading MI5 interrogator during the Second World War before becoming a High Court judge.

Westminster has been rife with rumours for the last fortnight that Umunna was about to launch such a party alongside Anna Soubry and other fanatically pro-EU Conservatives. Perhaps these rebel Tories have been put off by the undoubted practical difficulties of launching a new party, but if Theresa May does eventually position the Conservative Party as unequivocally pro-Brexit, or if she is replaced by a Brexiteer such as Boris Johnson, we can assume Ms Soubry and a few others will team up with Mr Umunna.

According to an email circular this morning from Stephen Bush, the well-connected political editor of the New Statesman, it was Gavin Shuker, MP for Luton South, who helped persuade the other six that it was time for a formal split. Mr Shuker is an unusual character, who in one respect has nothing in common with New Labour ‘centrism’. Before standing for parliament in 2010 he was leader and pastor of the City Life Church in Luton: he opposes ‘gay marriage’ and has taken a number of other stances on ‘moral questions’ that put him at odds with the liberal consensus.

Gavin Shuker, the former Christian pastor who registered the limited company behind the new ‘Independent Group’ of MPs

The group is not registered as a party with the Electoral Commission, but it operates from an office in Altrincham, near Manchester, in the name of a limited company called ‘Gemini A Ltd’ which Shuker created on January 16th this year.

One of the Labour rebels, Angela Smith, MP for the marginal Yorkshire seat Penistone & Stocksbridge, made much of her working-class roots (in contrast to the well-heeled Umunna). But a problem for such people is that while working-class Britons might find their traditional Labour loyalties strained by Corbyn’s trendy-left, London-dominated Momentum faction, many such voters (including in Ms Smith’s own constituency) voted to leave the EU and remain pro-Brexit.

Anna Soubry, notoriously pro-EU MP for Broxtowe, and the most likely Tory to join Umunna’s ‘Independent Group’

Umunna’s “independents” have made it clear that being pro-EU and campaigning for a second referendum to overturn the 2016 result is a fundamental component of their so-called ‘centrism’.

That’s why the best known earlier anti-Corbyn rebel, Birkenhead MP Frank Field who quit Labour to sit as an independent last August, will certainly not be joining Umunna’s group. Similarly other anti-Corbyn MPs who might be thought on the right of Labour – Kate Hoey, Graham Stringer and John Mann – will certainly not be on board.

In fact one might logically expect two Independent Groups to the right of Corbyn’s Labour – one pro-Brexit and one pro-Remain!

If this really is the long-overdue breakup of the two-party stranglehold on British politics, one eventual consequence will have to be a change in the electoral system.

Only then will we see a realistic chance for the views of forgotten millions of British voters to be represented at Westminster, and a real challenge to the dead consensus of multiracialism.

Farage set to back new party

Nigel Farage (right) with UKIP’s former Scottish leader David Coburn who joined him in resigning over new leader Gerard Batten’s shift to an anti-Islam agenda

Feb 1st update: The Brexit Party’s official founder Catherine Blaiklock (interviewed by the Daily Telegraph’s Christopher Hope) claims that the party already has more than 200 potential candidates lined up – including Nigel Farage – in the event of a delayed Brexit causing either UK involvement in European elections or a snap general election this year. We should bear in mind that it is easier to talk about election plans than to deliver them.

Following his long-expected resignation from UKIP – the party he led for nine years including its greatest successes at the 2009 and 2014 European elections and the 2015 General Election – Nigel Farage gave the first indication yesterday that he is planning to endorse a new breakaway party.

During an interview with the Sun on Sunday, Farage said:
“There is huge demand for a party that’s got real clarity on this issue. You can see and hear the frustration welling up out there. It’s clear the political elite want to stop Brexit in its tracks and the prime minister doesn’t have the strength or inclination to see this through.
“…If the government goes back on its word and betrays the millions of people who voted for Brexit then we need a party prepared to stand up and fight for it. I’m fully prepared for article 50 to be extended or revoked and if that happens, I will re-enter the fray.”

Rather than backing any of the existing post-UKIP parties, Farage said he is likely to support one that is presently being registered by UKIP’s former economics spokesman Catherine Blaiklock, who wrote for the Salisbury Review before Christmas explaining her conclusion that “UKIP is dead”.

Catherine Blaiklock, former UKIP spokesman, is launching The Brexit Party

Ms Blaiklock began the process of registering this party with the Electoral Commission on January 11th, which leaves very little time to complete the process if we were to face a snap general election, or if delays to Brexit entail our involvement in the European Parliamentary elections on May 23rd.

It had been assumed that UK MEPs, including Farage himself, would have left by then and their seats would be redistributed among the EU’s remaining member states. But as with so much about the Brexit process, even this is now uncertain.

Farage has indicated he would be prepared to stand again in May, and might also be tempted to stand in a likely parliamentary by-election in Peterborough, which will occur if Labour MP Fiona Onasanya fails to overturn her conviction for lying about a traffic offence.

Anne Marie Waters on the by-election campaign trail with former BNP election guru Eddy Butler: her party For Britain has now become an affiliate of the largest European alliance of anti-immigration parties, alongside Marine Le Pen and Matteo Salvini.

UKIP’s activists and donors would then be left with a dilemma: should they follow their old leader; stick with their new leader; or opt for one of the three other main alternatives offered by leading figures who have quit UKIP during the past year or two – Anne Marie Waters’ anti-Islamic For Britain Movement; the Democrats and Veterans Party led by John Rees-Evans; or the Social Democratic Party endorsed by MEP and former Express journalist Patrick O’Flynn.

For Britain was recently accepted as an affiliate of the Movement for a Europe of Nations and Freedom, which includes Marine Le Pen’s ‘National Rally’ (RN), formerly the National Front; the Austrian Freedom Party; the Flemish Vlaams Belang; and the Italian anti-immigration party Lega headed by Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini.


Farage quits UKIP

UKIP leader Gerard Batten (left) with EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (alias ‘Tommy Robinson’) whose increasingly close relationship with the party has now prompted Nigel Farage to resign.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage quit the party this week, after another row with the current chairman Gerard Batten. Farage was a founder member of UKIP, formed by homosexual libertarian Dr. Alan Sked in 1993. Before UKIP they had been in the Anti-Federalist League, and previously the Conservative Party, which they quit in 1992.

Farage was firmly against Batten’s plan’s to bring former BNP member and EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (alias ‘Tommy Robinson’) into UKIP, and to focus more on being anti-Islam than anti-EU.

Former National Front official Martyn Heale (right) – a UKIP councillor from 2013 to 2017 – with Nigel Farage

However, when Farage was UKIP leader he let a number of former NF officials join the party without any problem – including Martyn Heale, the then UKIP chairman of the Thanet South constituency where Nigel Farage was the party’s candidate at the 2016 general election. Heale was a leading member of the National Front in London in the 1970s, and its Hammersmith branch organiser in 1978.

Subsequently Heale spent over twenty years in the Conservative Party, including three years as Chairman of Ramsgate Conservative Association, before joining UKIP about fourteen years ago. He was a UKIP county councillor for the Ramsgate division in Kent from 2013 to 2017. In August this year Heale applied to rejoin the Conservative Party, but his application was rejected as being liable to bring the party into disrepute, despite his earlier two decades as a Tory.

Nigel Farage has always denied claims that his father Guy Farage had himself been a member of the NF in the 1970s.

Martyn Heale as a London NF activist

Rather more serious than this row over alleged ‘extremism’ is UKIP’s continuing identity crisis. The party will surely struggle now to fight a serious campaign, if Theresa May’s Brexit troubles lead to a general election next year. Realistically there isn’t much time for Farage and his financial backer Arron Banks to start a new party, and none of the splinter groups that broke away from UKIP during the past year or two, such as the For Britain Movement or Democrats & Veterans, have really built up momentum.

Are we heading back to a period of two-party politics? And if so, will this be an interlude before the emergence of a radical anti-immigration party?

Labour promise post-Brexit immigration nightmare

Diane Abbott – seen here (right) with Jeremy Corbyn – today announced Labour’s post-Brexit immigration policy

Some H&D readers were always sceptical about Brexit, fearing that immigration policy would actually get worse after we left the European Union. UKIP spokesmen regularly argued that they would prefer immigrants from India (and by implication English-speaking countries in Africa) to those from Eastern Europe.

UKIP of course is now semi-extinct, so that party’s views on race and immigration are irrelevant, but there is a real possibility that post-Brexit Britain will have a Labour government. Today we found out what that might mean.

Diane Abbott – who has been such a disaster as Shadow Home Secretary that she was hidden away for most of the 2017 election campaign – today announced Labour’s immigration policy, and many H&D readers might now be thinking we would be better off in the EU than risking this open door disaster.

Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn were seen in the 1980s as the ‘loony left’, highlighted in this Tory election poster, but Tory failure now leaves these extremists on the brink of power.

Ms Abbott said that a Labour government would end any preferential system for Europeans:

“Sadly at the current time we have a class system for migrants.

“Commonwealth migrants and other non-EU migrants are treated in a way that is tantamount to making them second-class migrants.

“They struggle to bring partners or spouses here. They have to meet minimum income targets. They can lose their right to residency simply by travelling home for family reasons.

“It’s not fair, it’s not humane, it’s not reasonable.

“Labour will end the established system of first and second-class migrants. And we will do so, not by treating EU migrants as appallingly as Commonwealth and other non-EU migrants have been treated for a long time. We will end the first and second-class system by treating everyone fairly.”

We fear that Ms Abbott was not thinking of South African, Australian or other White Commonwealth migrants. We all know the type of people who will be queuing up to take advantage of a Corbyn-Abbott run Britain.

Simon Heffer on ‘The English revolution’

Simon Heffer addressing the Traditional Britain Group

In this week’s New Statesman, Enoch Powell’s biographer Simon Heffer has an excellent article putting Brexit in the context of previous attempts by Tory elites to respond to ‘the condition of England’.

The ‘condition of England question’ was first formulated in 1839 by the great Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle (long out of fashion) whom Heffer rightly admires. Like the 19th century Whigs whom Carlyle criticised for their blindness towards the desperate state of the Victorian working class, David Cameron ignored a blatant malfunction of the political system that had promoted him.

As Heffer puts it: “The democratic malfunction that millions of voters felt between 1975 and 2016 was that however they voted they would not alter membership of the EU, and the EU had an increasing impact on their lives and economic prospects. If you school people in the notion that the establishment of their social order relies on their ability to vote and not on deference to a Carlylean aristocracy – a properly progressive argument – then denying them a choice on a fundamental issue for decades will, when the choice is finally presented, resemble the bursting of a dam. So it was two years ago.”

Might Heffer himself be starting to recognise that the Thatcher revolution of the 1980s (when combined with mass immigration) had a corrosive effect on society, and that free market ‘right-wingers’ (who are in fact Victorian-style liberals but misnamed ‘conservatives’ on both sides of the Atlantic) have been just as blinkered as the Whigs in their assumptions about benign historical ‘progress’?

Click here to read the full article.

 

German government on the brink over immigration policy – is this the end for Merkel?

Angela Merkel (left) is at odds with her own interior minister Horst Seehofer (right) over immigration policy in a row that could transform European politics.

Germany’s coalition government is on the verge of collapse due to serious splits over immigration policy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel took the disastrous decision in 2015 to admit more than a million refugees in what amounted to an ‘open border’ policy. Now her own interior minister (equivalent to a British Home Secretary) is threatening to resign.

This is especially serious because the minister concerned (Horst Seehofer) leads the Bavarian conservative party CSU, which has been allied to Merkel’s CDU for the entire history of the German Federal Republic: all the way back to 1945.

Seehofer’s immediate concern is so-called “secondary migration”, by which immigrants to one EU country then move to another EU country. Understandably he wants Germany to have control of its own borders.

Merkel tried last week to reach a deal with other EU leaders which would satisfy her anti-immigration critics, both among her own government allies and in the general population, but she seems to have failed.

If Seehofer’s CSU splits from the CDU, it will be the most serious change in Western European politics since the Second World War – a much bigger deal than Brexit – and might give a tremendous boost to plans for a continent-wide alliance of anti-immigration parties, now being promoted by Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister Matteo Salvini.

(July 3rd update: Seehofer and Merkel seemed to have patched up a deal to avoid an immediate split in the government, but the big issues remain unresolved and the latest deal is causing a fresh immigration row with Austria.)

Meanwhile demonstrations have been held for the last two weekends in the cities of Hamm and Nuremberg against the imprisonment of 89-year-old Ursula Haverbeck for the opinion crime of ‘Holocaust denial’. Mrs Haverbeck dared to question the establishment’s line on 1940s history – the very same historical myths that underpinned the postwar political consensus which is now collapsing.

The most recent protest march last Saturday (see below) was attended by veteran British nationalist and campaigner for historical truth Richard Edmonds, whose speech begins at 25:28 in the first video below.

This week the latest Orwellian trial will take place in Germany, featuring Canadian-German Alfred Schaefer and his sister, violinist Monika Schaefer, a Canadian citizen who has been imprisoned since January awaiting trial for the ‘crime’ of uploading a ‘Holocaust denial’ video to YouTube.

Arlene Foster speaks for UK after May’s blunders

As Prime Minister Theresa May blunders through another day of chaotic Brexit negotiations, it has been left to Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, to stand up for the principles once understood by every member of May’s Conservative & Unionist Party.

Mrs Foster today made clear:
“Northern Ireland must leave the EU on the same terms as the rest of the United Kingdom. We will not accept any form of regulatory divergence which separates Northern Ireland economically or politically from the rest of the United Kingdom. The economic and constitutional integrity of the United Kingdom will not be compromised in any way.”

How on earth could a Conservative Prime Minister have allowed herself to be drawn into a position where that “economic and constitutional integrity” could be questioned in the slightest degree?

What part of the words “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” does the Prime Minister fail to comprehend?

Too many Tories have been relying on the complacent assumption that DUP MPs will continue to support the government at Westminster (despite every provocation and betrayal) because they cannot possibly risk a Jeremy Corbyn government.

It’s time for the DUP (and any remaining genuine Tory patriots) to call that bluff.

German election campaign livens up with frontrunner Merkel under pressure

Martin Schulz (left) failed to achieve the debate victory he needed to revive the SPD’s challenge to German Chancellor Angela Merkel (right)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel remains a strong favourite to secure re-election when her fellow countrymen go to the polls on 24th September.  In 2015 Merkel’s decision to admit well over a million asylum seekers seemed to be not only a catastrophe for Germans but a political disaster for Merkel herself. Her conservative CDU-CSU [the CDU operates in most of Germany but has a longstanding partnership with the Catholic CSU in Bavaria] was losing votes to a new anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) throughout late 2015 and 2016.

Then at the start of this year the SPD (German equivalent of the Labour Party) started to take a lead in opinion polls after selecting former European Parliament president Martin Schulz as its candidate for Chancellor.

However once the campaign got under way many voters, especially in the more prosperous western areas of Germany, began to turn back to Merkel partly out of fear that the SPD would form a coalition government including the neo-Marxist Left Party (Die Linke) as well as the Greens.  The Left Party includes former leaders of the Communist Party that ruled the former East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

A further complication is that former SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has taken a position on the board of the Russian state oil company Rosneft, raising suspicions among journalists hostile to Putin.

The TV debate on September 3rd between Merkel and Schulz was seen as the socialist opposition’s last chance to revive their campaign.

However Schulz failed to make significant progress in the debate and seems headed for certain defeat.

Frauke Petry, co-leader of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany, decided earlier this year not to be AfD’s candidate for Chancellor

Meanwhile AfD has suffered internal strains, with co-leader Frauke Petry deciding not to be the party’s candidate for Chancellor.

In recent days Merkel has tried to take her campaign to eastern areas that remain hostile to her immigration policy.  The Financial Times this weekend describes a disastrous Merkel campaign event in Bitterfeld, an industrial town in Lower Saxony where AfD remains strong.  Some predict that while AfD’s nationwide vote will be under 10%, it could poll closer to 20% in the East (outside the capital Berlin which remains a leftist stronghold).

AfD has not resolved internal debates over how to deal with present-day Germany’s tyrannical laws that dictate not only what can be said on racial matters, but how scientists, historians, lawyers and ordinary citizens can discuss issues of 20th century history.

Germany’s main nationalist party the NPD will be fielding candidates in most of the country both at constituency and list level. (The German election system is partly based on Westminster style constituencies but with a ‘top-up’ element based on party lists, to create a Parliament that represents the percentage votes achieved by each party, with a 5% threshold required to obtain any MPs.)

Ursula Haverbeck in discussion with her lawyer Wolfram Nahrath during court proceedings in November 2016

Recently the 88-year-old Ursula Haverbeck was given a two-year sentence for ‘Holocaust denial’ after questioning the increasingly discredited official version of history that dictates 6 million Jews were murdered, supposedly mainly in homicidal gas chambers during the Second World War.

German prosecutors and government representatives refuse to answer Frau Haverbeck’s questions as to how, where and on whose orders such supposed mass killings took place: instead of answering such questions they bring further criminal charges. However contrary to some reports Frau Haverbeck is not presently in a prison cell, as despite court verdicts and sentences there are still appeal processes going on.

Meanwhile the 81-year-old lawyer Horst Mahler remains imprisoned near Berlin on similar charges, having been handed back to German custody in June by the Hungarian government. Mahler had been released from a 12-year prison sentence on health grounds after becoming critically ill and having a leg amputated, but prosecutors ordered his return to prison earlier this year.

UKIP executive decides not to block EDL-linked candidate

Peter Whittle (left), bookies’ favourite to win the UKIP leadership, with former leader Nigel Farage

[spacer height=”20px”]UKIP’s latest leadership election will have eleven candidates after the party’s national executive announced yesterday that they had decided not to block an EDL-linked candidate from standing.

‘Moderates’ on the executive tried to block the leadership campaign of Anne Marie Waters, a former Labour Party member whose campaign team includes ex-BNP member Jack Buckby. Ms Waters is a longstanding ally of Paul Weston (head of Liberty GB) and Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, alias ‘Tommy Robinson’ (founder of the English Defence League, EDL).

Liberal media outrage against Ms Waters (typified by a Nick Cohen column in The Observer) is matched by opposition to her candidature within UKIP, almost all of whose MEPs would quit if she became leader or deputy leader. Mike Hookem, UKIP’s deputy chief whip in the European Parliament whose immediate superior – chief whip Stuart Agnew – is Ms Waters only senior supporter, quit in protest yesterday saying that “turning a blind eye to extremist views” was “not something I am prepared to do”.

H&D readers will remember last year’s fracas involving former leadership favourite Steven Woolfe, which seemed to show that Mr Hookem was more likely to inflict a black eye (if provoked) than turn a blind eye.

Among those condemning Ms Waters is rival leadership candidate Jane Collins, an MEP for Yorkshire & Humber who fought two high-profile parliamentary by-elections for UKIP: Barnsley Central in 2011 and Rotherham in 2012, but Ms Collins is a fringe candidate in a contest that (if you believe the bookies) is now realistically a five-horse race.[spacer height=”20px”]

David Kurten (left) with leadership rival David Coburn MEP

[spacer height=”20px”]A UKIP establishment bandwagon was growing behind David Kurten, a mixed-race UKIP member of the London Assembly, who now has the backing of the Farage-Banks lobby group Leave.EU.  Leave.EU’s backing for Kurten was a blow to Welsh businessman John Rees-Evans, who has organised a nationwide tour to promote his campaign for ‘direct democracy’ to revive UKIP, but apparent ‘homophobic’ comments by Kurten have revived Rees-Evans’s chances.

The field of ‘moderate’ candidates has been further confused by the late entry into the race of Henry Bolton, a military intelligence veteran who stood for Kent Police & Crime Commissioner last year. Bolton is the dark horse in the race, and seems to be picking up support from ‘moderates’ who think that neither Kurten nor Rees-Evans are serious leadership material.

Libertarians disturbed by the anti-Islamist obsessions of Waters and Peter Whittle (described by the Jewish Chronicle as “the Israel-loving friendly face of UKIP” and current favourite to win, after promising to appoint Waters his deputy) are tending to back David Coburn (UKIP’s only Scottish MEP) or Ben Walker (an ex-Tory and councillor for a Bristol suburb), but some will try to pick a ‘non-Islamophobic’ winner from among Kurten, Rees-Evans and Bolton, so as to block the ‘extremists’ Whittle and Waters.

Coburn and Whittle are gay, while Waters is a lesbian. Former leadership candidate Suzanne Evans was thus able to post on Twitter celebrating the fact that “33% of UKIP’s leadership candidates are gay. What other party has ever been able to say that?”

Surprise candidates joining the race but likely to finish as also-rans include Aidan Powlesland, parliamentary candidate for South Suffolk earlier this year, who is an enthusiast for space exploration; David Allen, 2017 parliamentary candidate for Rochester & Strood; and Marion Mason, a former Tory councillor who was UKIP candidate for Hertfordshire Police & Crime Commissioner.

The result of the leadership election will be announced at UKIP’s conference on September 29th in Torquay, after which senior figures such as Nigel Farage and Arron Banks will get on with the serious business of organising a split.

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