Early results from ‘Super Thursday’ elections

This week saw the largest set of local and regional elections in the UK since the reorganisation of local government almost half a century ago.

Most counts will take place during Friday or Saturday, but a few were counted overnight.

As H&D has previously explained, the 2021 elections mark the end of the Nigel Farage era: his old party UKIP is now almost extinct, and the Brexit Party which he launched in 2019 has been rebranded (ineffectively) as Reform UK.

Racial nationalist parties are still in the process of reviving and reorganising themselves after a decade in Brexit’s shadow, but we expect a handful of strong results for several nationalist/populist candidates.

H&D editor Mark Cotterill is contesting Preston City Council and Lancashire County Council seats: when not involved in counts we shall be reporting here on these and other results.

Labour’s Sean Fielding – leader of Oldham Council – has lost his seat to a local independent

Overnight the biggest breaking news was the defeat of Oldham Council leader Sean Fielding (Labour), who lost his seat to former police officer Mark Wilkinson, leader of the Failsworth Independent Party. Perhaps even more sensational for those of our readers who remember the glory days of Oldham BNP was that young Conservative candidate Beth Sharp defeated Labour in St James ward. In the old days this was the top BNP target and a no hope area for the Tories.

Ms Sharp’s victory is an early sign of what will surely be the main narrative of this week’s elections: the continuing success of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in areas that were once solidly Labour. This fragmentation could in the long-term be good news for nationalist parties, if we can get our act together.

An extraordinary civil war within Oldham’s Asian community saw Asian Labour candidates lose one Asian ghetto (St Mary’s) and almost lose another (Coldhurst) to Asian independents, while losing the racially split Medlock Vale ward to an Asian Conservative! (This is partly a consequence of local Labour bosses choosing to defy Muslim elders in a row over an Asian feminist councillor.)

In Oldham, UKIP and Reform UK did at least manage to avoid standing against each other, but nevertheless obtained appalling results with all four of their respective candidates finishing bottom of the poll: their votes ranged from 0.8% to 3.8%.

John Evans – re-elected as Reform UK councillor for Alvaston ward, Derby

Elsewhere early results mostly confirmed that Reform UK (the rebranded Brexit Party) will fizzle out within months of its launch. Overnight there were just two Reform UK victories, both in Derby, with Tim Prosser elected in a freak result for Boulton ward, after the Conservative candidate withdrew to give him a free run against Labour; and John Evans retaining the Alvaston ward seat that he first won for UKIP in 2016 before his move first to the Brexit Party and now to Reform UK. The party’s other Derby candidates were heavily defeated.

Most other Reform UK results were very poor indeed: notably in the Hartlepool parliamentary by-election. This had been the Brexit Party’s main target seat only seventeen months ago at the 2019 General Election, where their candidate was Richard Tice, now leader of the rebranded party.

Yet Reform UK polled only 1.2% yesterday, down from Tice’s 25.8% in 2019. Almost all of those pro-Brexit voters swung behind the Conservatives, whose candidate won a historic victory. Most humiliating for Reform UK was that Claire Martin, candidate of the tiny UKIP splinter Heritage Party, polled 468 votes (1.6%) to push Reform UK into fifth place.

Those in our movement who believed that anti-lockdown or Covid-sceptic politics would prove an effective electoral strategy will be sobered by the mere 72 votes (0.2%) won by the Freedom Alliance candidate who finished bottom of a sixteen-strong field in Hartlepool.

In the old UKIP stronghold of Thurrock, two Reform UK candidates finished bottom of the poll, and their rival ex-colleagues from the old UKIP, now standing as Thurrock Independents, lost all the seats they were defending.

Sunderland is one of the few UKIP branches that has remained largely intact with few activists defecting to Farage’s Brexit/Reform, and UKIP managed a substantial local slate of 19 candidates. However they were all heavily defeated: their best result was 18.4% in Redhill ward, which they had won in 2019. The two other Sunderland wards that UKIP won in 2019 were Tory gains from Labour this year, in one case electing an Asian Tory councillor, with UKIP polling 8.1% and 8.8%.

We expect the For Britain Movement (an anti-Islamist party whose leader Anne-Marie Waters is ‘anti-racist’ but whose candidates include high-profile BNP veterans) to poll very well in some areas. However the party’s overnight results were poor, including heavy defeats in two eastern Newcastle wards – 3.5% in Walker and 1.7% in Walkergate.

Three members of the same family contesting Southend wards as For Britain candidates polled 4%, 2.3% and 2.1% respectively.

2021 elections: Showdown for civic nationalist and Brexiteer parties

As we explained last week, the 2021 elections for a variety of local councils, mayoralties, and the Scottish and Welsh Parliaments take place at a time of transition for the racial nationalist movement.

It’s also the end of an era for the various civic nationalist, populist and Brexiteer parties, many of which emerged out of splits in the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a force that changed the direction of British politics during the past decade but has been in prolonged death throes for the past few years.

The largest faction of the old UKIP followed Nigel Farage into his new Brexit Party, but Farage has now retired from frontline electoral politics. His ally Richard Tice now leads a party renamed and rebranded as Reform UK, which is still the largest of the post-UKIP factions but a lot weaker than its predecessor.

According to our analysis of documents produced by more than two hundred returning officers across England, Scotland, and Wales, Reform UK has 276 candidates for English councils. In addition they are fighting all 14 Greater London Assembly constituencies as well as putting up a GLA slate. (This citywide list, elected on a proportional basis, is one of the few elections where parties such as Reform UK stand a chance. The BNP’s Richard Barnbrook was elected to the GLA via the citywide slate in 2008.)

Nigel Farage has left frontline politics, while his Brexit Party has been rebranded as Reform UK

Reform UK have candidates for 13 of the 39 Police & Crime Commissioner posts up for election on May 6th; as well as three mayoralties.

The biggest showdown between Reform UK and the rump of UKIP is in Wales, where Reform UK is fighting all 40 constituencies as well as all five regional slates. UKIP is fighting all of the regions, but only has candidates in 14 of the 40 constituencies.

At the previous Welsh election in 2016, UKIP won seven seats via the regional list system.

Across the English councils, UKIP’s relative weakness compared to Reform UK is even more marked: we estimate that they have 131 English council candidates (fewer than half Reform UK’s total), plus a London slate. Unlike Reform UK, UKIP have a London mayoral candidate, and they are also contesting the North Tyneside mayoralty.

A Covid-sceptic party called Freedom Alliance (and its South Wales sister party ‘No More Lockdowns’) is fighting four of the five Welsh regional lists and 15 Welsh constituencies. Across England we estimate that they have 89 council candidates. A similar but higher-profile anti-lockdown party is led in London by Piers Corbyn, brother of the former Labour leader. This party – Let London Live – is fighting three GLA constituencies, the citywide list, and the London mayoralty (with Corbyn himself as mayoral candidate).

David Kurten left UKIP to form the Heritage Party

As we have previously reported, yet another anti-lockdown party contesting the London elections is the Heritage Party, founded by former UKIP leadership candidate David Kurten. The half-Jamaican Mr Kurten is standing for the London mayoralty and heads a GLA slate, in a bid to retain the seat he won as a UKIP list candidate in 2016.

The Heritage Party (which has absolutely no connection to H&D!) has 22 candidates nationwide in various English council contests: its strongest area seems to be Surrey, where it has five county council candidates – otherwise it has one or two candidates dotted around the country.

An even smaller UKIP splinter is the Alliance for Democracy & Freedom, founded by yet another former UKIP leadership candidate, ex-MEP Mike Hookem. This has just four council candidates around the country.

Some populists and Brexiteers have quixotically rallied behind the Social Democratic Party (SDP), rump of the party founded by prominent ex-Labour politicians in the 1980s. Most of the SDP was fanatically pro-EU and eventually merged into today’s Liberal Democrats, but the tiny group that kept up the name SDP have been joined by a surprising number of Brexiteers who were unhappy about the ‘far right’ direction of UKIP and its other splinters.

The SDP have 62 council candidates across England, as well as a London mayoral candidate and GLA list.

Robin Tilbrook, leader of the English Democrats

The English Democrats have long attempted to rival the various UKIP splinters by promoting their particular constitutional argument in favour of an English Parliament, and for a while attracted a number of defectors from Nick Griffin’s collapsing BNP.

Almost all of those ex-BNP types are now in the For Britain Movement, but the EDs retain a hardcore of English nationalists led by Essex solicitor Robin Tilbrook. They will have six council candidates, two mayoral and two for Police Commissioner elections.

Independent candidates in these elections include former ED Frank Calladine, standing for Mayor of Doncaster.

The bottom line is that Reform UK is by far the biggest of the parties to emerge from the chaos of a bitterly divided Brexiteer political scene. However we expect them to poll quite badly this year, despite killing off UKIP, the Heritage Party and other splinters.

There will be some strong independent results, and we expect Jim Lewthwaite of the British Democratic Party to poll well in his Bradford City Council ward. But the biggest successes of this year’s elections on the broadly nationalist side of things are likely to be for the For Britain Movement, which will draw support from both civic and racial nationalists despite fielding several non-White candidates.

While these elections will (by the standards of the early 2000s) produce very few nationalist or even broadly populist successes, they will help to clarify the post-Brexit, post-pandemic scene.

H&D will post full reports on the results and their implications, both here and in what will necessarily be a slightly delayed May-June edition of the magazine.

Actor launches new party to fight ‘culture wars’

Laurence Fox on BBC Question Time in January this year

Actor Laurence Fox – probably best known for his role as DS Hathaway in the long-running British television series Lewishas announced plans for a new political party to take on ‘woke’ culture warriors who dominate the UK news agenda.

Fox’s political views first came to public attention earlier this year when he was a panellist on the BBC’s Question Time. During a discussion about alleged ‘racism’ experienced by the Duchess of Sussex (former actress Meghan Markle), Fox commented: “It’s not racism … we’re the most tolerant, lovely country in Europe. It’s so easy to throw the charge of racism and it’s really starting to get boring now.”

He is the son of actor James Fox and nephew of fellow actor Edward Fox.

The party is to be called Reclaim, and among its stated objectives is “to promote an open space through full protection of the fundamental freedoms of speech, expression, thought, association and academic inquiry. To stand in full opposition to laws and other measures which undermine those freedoms.”

Another objective is “to preserve and celebrate our shared national history, cultural inheritance and global contribution.”

According to the Daily Telegraph, donors to the new party – which has been planned for the past two months – include former Conservative Party, Brexit Party and Vote Leave donor Jeremy Hosking.

There is no news yet from the Electoral Commission as to this new party being officially accepted and registered – which would be required before it could stand candidates in elections.

Mark Collett and Laura Towler of Patriotic Alternative – which like Laurence Fox’s ‘Reclaim’ has yet to be accepted by the Electoral Commission as a registered political party

Similarly the new racial nationalist party Patriotic Alternative has yet to be registered by the Commission, who rejected an earlier application by PA on a technicality.

As reported in H&D Issue 98, two former UKIP leadership candidates had their efforts to launch new parties rejected in June this year. Mike Hookem’s Alliance for Democracy and Freedom was eventually accepted on August 18th after reapplying, but the Heritage Party set up by the half-Jamaican David Kurten was rejected again by the Commission on September 4th.

Mr Kurten might not have a party (yet), but thanks to the postponement of last May’s elections he remains a Member of the Greater London Assembly (to which he was originally elected as a UKIP candidate) until May 2021 – or possibly later still, if the Covid pandemic forces another delay.

UKIP’s new Bombay-born leader

Freddy Vachha, the new leader of UKIP

A British political party now has an ethnic minority leader – but it’s not the party you might expect.

The United Kingdom Independence Party was (under Nigel Farage’s leadership) the winner of the 2014 European Parliamentary elections in the UK, polling 4.4 million votes and electing 24 MEPs. This success and continuing pressure on David Cameron’s Conservative Party was the biggest reason why Cameron agreed to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership in 2016.

So UKIP was to a very large extent responsible for Brexit.

However post-Brexit the party has lurched from one disaster to another, losing most of its elected representatives, activists and voters to Farage’s Brexit Party, which in turn collapsed at last December’s general election.

After a succession of comically inept leaders, it’s slightly surprising that UKIP still (just about) exists. Today it announced yet another new leader, London regional chairman Freddy Vachha.

The leadership had been vacant since the resignation of Dr Richard Braine last October. Discounting interim/caretaker leaders, Mr Vachha is the sixth UKIP leader since Farage stepped down following the Brexit referendum victory less than four years ago.

Freddy Vachha addressing the media today

Freddy Vachha was born in December 1957 in Bombay (now known as Mumbai), India, son of a Parsi father and a British mother.

An accountant and tax consultant, Mr Vachha was runner-up in last year’s UKIP leadership election. His first press conference as leader was held today at the foot of Winston Churchill’s statue in London.

We might glean some idea of the professionalism we can expect from UKIP by glancing at Mr Vaccha’s CV which he presented during last year’s leadership election (click below).

This crank organisation once managed to win a nationwide UK election and changed the course of British politics: perhaps that tells us something about the essential fragility of the party system and is a sign of hope for our movement!

Brexit Party AM declares Masonic membership

Brexit Party Welsh Assembly member
David Rowlands

David Rowlands, a Brexit Party member of the Welsh Assembly (now officially known as the Senedd), and Robin Swann, former leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and now a Stormont MLA and Health Minister of Northern Ireland, are the only two parliamentarians in the UK to declare their membership of Freemasonry.

The new grand secretary of the United Grand Lodge of England has recently given numerous press interviews, indicating plans “to take the organisation into the 21st century”.

On its inception the Welsh Assembly not only insisted that members had to declare any Masonic affiliation – they even made it a criminal offence to fail to do so.

A senior Welsh Freemason complained at the time: “We had the ridiculous situation that, as a freemason, if I wanted to become an AM, I would have to declare my membership. But a member of the Ku Klux Klan or Meibion Glyndwr would be all right.”

The original regulations were changed after a Human Rights Act challenge, and failure to comply is no longer a criminal offence, but the Welsh Assembly (unlike the House of Commons) still requires members to register membership of any “private societies”.

Robin Swann MLA

David Rowlands was elected for UKIP in 2016 as an Assembly member for South Wales East: he later defected to the Brexit Party.

Robin Swann was leader of the Ulster Unionist Party from 2017 to 2019 and is MLA for Antrim North. He is the only Stormont member to declare himself a Freemason and is a prominent member of the Orange Order and Royal Black Preceptory.

UKIP fast disappearing, while populist independent wins by-election

A populist independent – boxing coach Ken Dobson – won a Manchester City Council by-election this week in Clayton & Openshaw, just west of the city centre. Mr Dobson becomes one of only four non-Labour members among 96 city councillors.

Independent Dobson won a majority of 108 over Labour’s African candidate. The Lib Dems also put up an African, and the Tory was Asian – so Mr Dobson and the Green were the only White candidates.

This Manchester upset contrasted with miserable results for two other ‘protest vote’ candidates yesterday.

UKIP’s Geoff Courtenay (above right) welcomes then party leader Richard Braine to a Hillingdon branch meeting

UKIP’s Geoff Courtenay polled only 16 (sixteen) votes (0.8%) in Hillingdon East ward, Hillingdon. He is an experienced UKIP candidate, and in fact stood here at the General Election against Prime Minister Boris Johnson last December. And this is a ward where UKIP polled 19.3% in 2014.

One really must wonder how long UKIP will carry on. Perhaps it will linger in the manner of the Social Democratic Party that was dissolved in 1988, but which kept going under the same name but a different structure under former Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen. Even this SDP was closed down in 1990, but a tiny band of supporters keep up the name to this day. Similarly, occasional eccentrics might still stand as UKIP candidates in future, though even that will require someone to keep filling in the forms and sending in accounts to the Electoral Commission, so total extinction within the next year or two might be more likely.

Former councillor Brian Silvester

Meanwhile an ex-UKIP councillor and frequent purveyor of social media outrage, Brian Silvester, was bottom of the poll with 34 votes (2.2%) as an independent candidate for Crewe South ward, Cheshire East. UKIP polled 14.8% in this ward in 2015. Since leaving UKIP, ex-Cllr Silvester spent a couple of years as a prominent ally of Anne Marie Waters in her For Britain Movement, then left to support the Brexit Party last summer.

Taken together, this week’s local government by-elections demonstrate both the continuing demand for a radical populist alternative to the established parties, and the continuing absence of a mass party answering that demand.

Brexit Day – is it?

H&D correspondent Peter Hollings, writes from Leeds, Yorkshire.

Tonight there will be lots of people around the country celebrating Brexit Day. 11pm this evening marks the point at which the United Kingdom will finally get rid of the EU shackles that have blighted our lives for so many decades now.

At least that’s what all those out and about later today will be thinking as they vigorously wave their Union Jack flags and vociferously belt out Rule Britannia loud and proud into the night sky.

Whilst patriots across the nation are collectively giving the two -fingered salute to Brussels I’ll be looking on from ‘afar’ and directing a wry little smile at all those who for whatever reason think we have somehow achieved a monumental and history-making victory over our globalist oppressors.

Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoy seeing we Brits come together in acts of celebration regardless of its nature. Whether we’re singing patriotic songs and waving flags at events such as The Proms (minus the LGBT flags of course) or coming together in acts of remembrance for our war heroes, or celebrating sporting victories on the world stage for example, nothing gladdens the heart more than seeing our people openly and proudly wearing their patriotism on their sleeves.

My problem is that these Brexit celebrations are being held way too early and I feel that there are going to be an awful lot of patriots who are going to be disappointed and deflated in the coming months and years.

The fact of the matter is that a true Brexit, that is to say a return to full sovereignty, will not occur for many years to come. This is because only a true Nationalist government will ever have the will to protect and maintain our full sovereignty.

Consider the following:

1) Britain will legally leave the EU and enter a ‘transition period’ which runs until December 31. During this time the UK will remain subject to EU laws and free movement of people will continue.

2) We will continue to pour billions of pounds into the EU’s coffers during that transition period. We will have all of the usual costs but none of the representation whilst we maintain our expensive financial obligations towards the EU budget.

3) There’s a very real probability that the transition period will be extended (despite Boris Johnson’s rhetoric to the contrary) for a further one or two years delaying our departure further. Who is to say that the extension period won’t be continued for even more years after that?

The National Front marches against the EEC, Kidderminster, 1984

4) The Northern Ireland question is far from complete. The architects of our destruction want a united Ireland in an effort to further dismantle our Union just as they want to see an ‘independent Scotland and an independent Wales (and Cornwall for that matter) eventually.

Northern Ireland will continue to follow EU rules on agricultural and manufactured goods, while the rest of the UK will not.

Additionally, the whole of the UK will leave the EU’s customs union but Northern Ireland will continue to enforce the EU’s customs code at its ports.

THE EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE WILL MAINTAIN PRIMACY OVER UK LAW in certain matters because of these afore-mentioned NI trading agreements. This is not regaining full sovereignty or achieving a full and hard Brexit.

5) The Tory government says that after Brexit EU citizens will no longer have priority status when it comes to the issue of entry into Britain. We will, in all likelihood, see an actual reduction in the numbers coming over from the likes of Poland and Romania etc but in my opinion it will mean an increase in those arriving from Africa, the Far East, the West Indies, India, Pakistan and the Middle East. Our enemies are not going to stop mass immigration and the Great Replacement project just because of Brexit or should I say BRINO (Brexit In Name Only).There’s no call for celebration here wouldn’t you agree?

6) Britain/USA trade deal. Does anyone seriously think that a trade deal negotiated on behalf of Britain by Tory arch-capitalist globalists and Israel ‘Firsters’ will secure a deal that is actually good for Britain, because I don’t? Trump is waiting in the wings with his fellow neo-Con hawks to stitch the UK up ‘big-time’.

Any deal concluded will without a shadow of a doubt be good for the USA and bad for America’s ‘bitch’ – because that is how they see us and it’s how they see the rest of the world also. I expect our NHS to become a casualty eventually of any future trade deal in spite of persistent denials by the Tories who say the NHS isn’t for sale.

7) Even Farage has acknowledged that we will not have our full fishing rights and waters returned to us after Brexit negotiations are concluded. If this is so I have to ask what other areas of British life we are going to have to accept compromises on?

As there is still so much uncertainty ahead of us it really does surprise me that the Leavers are so willing to prematurely indulge in celebration and triumphalism at this early stage in proceedings.

I’ll save my celebrating for when I see a complete cessation of mass immigration into Britain. I’ll crack open the bubbly when I see Islam eradicated from our shores. I’ll pat myself on the back when I see a return of an above average birthrate figure for native Brits and a reduction in the birthrates of all the various foreigner groups residing here.

ALL IS CERTAINLY NOT LOST, BUT ALL IS FAR FROM BEING WON YET.

For me the flag remains at half-mast for the time being.

Titanic elects new Captain

Adam Walker won this month’s BNP leadership election, unsurprisingly as he had many life member proxy votes in his pocket!

It would once have been big news for H&D readers that both UKIP and the BNP held leadership elections this week. The fact that many readers wouldn’t even have known these elections were happening is testimony to these parties having sunk into irrelevance.

The decline of these two parties has taken two very different forms. The BNP now exists only as a means of obtaining legacies from the wills of elderly patriots, many of whom would have drawn up their wills at a time when the BNP seemed a genuine challenge to the multiracial establishment.

Cynical BNP chairman Adam Walker and his right-hand man, party treasurer Clive Jefferson, have faced two challenges this year.

One is a continuing court case seeking to reverse their abuse of the party constitution: this case is continuing and it would not be appropriate for H&D to comment further.

Those BNP activists who still want to see a campaigning political party backed David Furness’s dommed challenge for the leadership.

The other was a leadership election, in which North London activist and former mayoral candidate David Furness challenged Walker. It was obvious that Mr Furness had the backing of almost all the party’s remaining serious activists, including Brian Parker (the longest serving councillor in the party’s history); East London organiser Paul Sturdy; and Bexley activists Mike Jones and Nicola Finch.

Yet his campaign was crippled by two factors. Firstly, many who would have backed Mr Furness have already quit the BNP in despair. Secondly, it seems that Walker and Jefferson had the proxy votes of unknown numbers of life members safely tucked in their pockets.

The official result was 308 votes for Adam Walker and 161 votes for Mr Furness. This in itself indicates a significant decline in membership since the previous leadership election in 2015, when Mr Walker polled 523 votes to Paul Hilliard’s 145.

And of course if you go back to the 2011 election (only eight years ago) the BNP was unrecognisably larger: at that very close contest Nick Griffin polled 1,157 votes to 1,148 for Andrew Brons.

What now for those few true patriots in the BNP? Logically they should be seeking a new political home, perhaps in alliance with the National Front.

This week’s other leadership election was in UKIP, whose decline has been due to general crankiness and simple lack of ability, rather than the cynicism and corruption that have pervaded the BNP’s hierarchy since the Griffin years.

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

Under outgoing leader Gerard Batten, UKIP drove away Nigel Farage and many other former MEPs and senior activists by pursuing an extreme and obsessive form of anti-Islam campaigning, and by building alliances with eccentric YouTube ‘stars’ such as Carl Benjamin, aka ‘Sargon of Akkad’.

Batten had promised only to be a caretaker leader after the scandal that ousted his predecessor Henry Bolton, but despite disastrous local and European election results he tried to seek a new mandate by standing in this year’s leadership election.

UKIP’s national executive refused to allow the retiring leader to stand. In a circular to members issued on July 30th, they wrote:

The NEC’s decision to exclude Gerard Batten from the ballot paper was a difficult one, and one which the NEC members knew would cause controversy whichever way they voted, and I have been asked to provide this explanation to our members.

All candidates for the leadership election were required to attend a vetting interview after which any recommendations and observations may be passed onto the NEC. The NEC had hoped to receive assurances from Gerard over his engagement with Tommy Robinson, over future “personal advisors” unapproved by the party’s governing board, whether he would be willing to engage with television and radio stations to get our message across, and whether he was willing to stand for more than a single year. Gerard knew that his candidacy would be challenged, but nevertheless chose not to attend the interview. The NEC found that Gerard had brought the party into disrepute and had failed the vetting element of the candidate requirements.

Against the NEC’s advice and wishes, he associated the party with people who did the party great electoral harm, and had, in effect silenced UKIP at a time when Brexit is and was the most pressing political issue of the day. Everyone tasked with getting the party’s message out in the European elections was stifled by questions about Gerard’s appointees. It was clear that we would be further marginalised in the future while the Party’s direction was turned from Brexit and was being dominated by people like Tommy Robinson. So unequal was that relationship, that the leader did not distance himself from Tommy Robinson, even when he stood against UKIP in the European elections.

Gerard’s strategy gave others the excuse needed to found the Brexit Party. The Brexit Party has since drawn not only millions of voters away from us, but also many of our longstanding members and elected representatives. This year might have been UKIP’s year had it not been for this leadership decision made in defiance and against the advice of the NEC. The result was that UKIP, the original party of Brexit, suffered its worst ever election defeat in recent years.

Further, it was felt that the party had greatly suffered from Gerard’s refusal to engage with TV, radio and press, thereby denying us a voice.

Finally, there was no confidence that Gerard would continue to stand as leader, having since the European elections repeatedly said that he would not, having had both his deposit paid and his nomination papers completed by Tommy Robinson supporters, and having made it clear, even at the time of the vetting interview, that he was still uncertain as to whether he would withdraw his application to stand in the election.

As is manifestly clear from our constitution, the NEC has a clear duty to safeguard the long term future of UKIP. That was the NEC’s sole intention.

These are important times for us, and the political climate is changing rapidly. UKIP needs a fresh start which will begin with the leadership election.

Alan Craig outside one of ‘Tommy Robinson’s court appearances. Craig was the main backer of former UKIP leader Batten and newly elected leader Richard Braine

At first Batten’s fellow anti-Islamist Alan Craig (former leader of the Christian Peoples Alliance) threatened to bring a legal action against the national executive on the former leader’s behalf. However this was soon dropped. Batten and Craig changed their strategy to endorse West London UKIP branch chairman Richard Braine.

And UKIP’s members went on to slap their own executive in the face and endorse Batten’s failed strategy! Braine was elected with more than 50% of the vote, ahead of three rival candidates. The full result was:

Richard Braine 2,935 votes (53%)

Freddy Vachha [London regional chairman] 1,184 (20%)

Ben Walker [Royal Navy veteran and former South Gloucs councillor] 753 (14%)

Mike Hookem [former deputy leader and ex-MEP for Yorkshire & Humber] 717 (13%)

The UKIP Titanic’s new captain is likely to order full steam ahead, and will probably appoint Batten as his deputy, surrounding himself with many of the same anti-Islam obsessives who courted disaster at the polls earlier this year.

No doubt the big winners from all this will be Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party, who can expect many new recruits from the anti-Batten wing of UKIP, though if the Conservative Party will accept them, many might prefer to join up with Prime Minister Boris and his new, supposedly pro-Brexit party.

Brexit Party struggling in by-elections

Nigel Farage – new party, same old problems

The Liberal Democrats have won yesterday’s parliamentary by-election in the rural Welsh constituency Brecon & Radnorshire, further worsening the parliamentary arithmetic for new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, making it less likely that he can achieve Brexit without a general election.

Brecon & Radnorshire was also bad news for Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, whose candidate was a distant third with 10.5%. A crumb of comfort for Farage was UKIP’s embarrassment at finishing bottom of the poll with 0.7%, behind even the ‘Monster Raving Loony Party’!

Regular H&D readers will be very familiar with our long-running analyses of UKIP’s poor performance in local by-elections, which indicated a long time ago that the party was in big trouble.

Now of course UKIP is dead, and is widely seen to have been superseded by the Brexit Party, founded earlier this year by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

The Brexit Party achieved extraordinarily good results at this year’s European Parliamentary elections: 30.5% of the nationwide vote, electing 29 MEPs – easily the largest UK party at that election.

The jury is still out as to whether the election of self-proclaimed Hard Brexiteer Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and (for the time being at least) Prime Minister will end Farage’s adventure.

What does seem clear is that (like UKIP before it) the Brexit Party is struggling to turn its potential support into actual votes in local or Westminster (as opposed to European) elections.

Last week in Gloucester the Brexit Party contested two city council elections for the first time. The good news for Farage is that his party finished way ahead of UKIP. The bad news is that they finished a poor third in one and fourth in the other.

In Podsmead ward – exactly the sort of White working-class estate where the Brexit Party ought to be threatening Labour (according to many pundits) they were fourth with 16.4% (UKIP polled just 1.6%). Labour did indeed lose the seat – but to the very pro-EU Liberal Democrats, not to Farage.

In a very different part of Gloucester, Barnwood ward – equally White but far more affluent – the Brexit Party finished third with 10.5% (UKIP managed a microscopic 0.4%). Again the Liberal Democrats gained the seat, this time from the Tories.

And tonight the Brexit Party has finished a distant third in its second attempt at a parliamentary by-election. The Liberal Democrats are again the winners, but perhaps the more important story is that the Tory candidate – despite having been convicted of a criminal offence, causing this by-election in the first place – finished well ahead of the Brexit Party candidate.

It’s too early to talk about a crisis for Farage, but just a couple of months after his great Euro-election triumph, the Brexit Party is badly in need of a good result somewhere. As things stand, Boris Johnson must be tempted to call a general election – at which Farage could be sunk without trace.

Big gains for Farage on mixed night for Europe’s ‘populists’

British voters decisively rejected the political establishment at the European elections. Results announced overnight showed that Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party took 32% of the vote and 28 MEPs, while Theresa May’s Conservative Party was reduced to just three MEPs, polling just 9%.

Farage crushed his old party UKIP, whose leader Gerard Batten lost his own seat in London, where UKIP polled only 2.1% losing their deposit.

Batten wasn’t the biggest loser in these elections: that honour went to former EDL leader ‘Tommy Robinson’. Standing as an independent in North West England, ‘Robinson’ lost his deposit with only 2.2% despite a very high-profile campaign with his trademark street violence and anti-Islam rhetoric.

‘Robinson’ has been exposed as full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

By contrast Farage will now be considering how to transform the Brexit Party into a genuine political party able to contest the next general election. British politics might never be the same again.

Leading figures in ‘The Movement’, an alliance of European populists – (left to right) former Trump adviser Steve Bannon; Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini; and Brussels-based Jewish lawyer Mischael Modrikamen

Meanwhile across Europe there were mixed results for anti-immigration parties. The biggest winner so far seems to be Matteo Salvini’s Lega who topped the poll in Italy with 34%; while among the losers was the anti-Islamist Dutch Freedom Party headed by Geert Wilders – they lost all four of their MEPs after polling 3.5%, down from 13.2% in 2014.

H&D will publish a full analysis of the results for anti-immigration and pro-nationalist parties across Europe as full results become available later today.

Former Soros hedge fund manager Robert Rowland – now a Brexit Party MEP

There will be some confusion among staff at Hope not Hate and other recipients of largesse from George Soros. Last night Robert Rowland, who managed about $1bn of hedge fund assets while working for Soros Fund Management from 1996 to 2003, has just been elected alongside Nigel Farage as a Brexit Party MEP for South East England.

A small sign of UKIP’s terminal decline was in Burnley, one of the very few towns where the party has a viable branch and a group of elected councillors. Yet even here the party was evidently not represented at the count, where a blatant error seems to have been made by the Returning Officer. It seems obvious to H&D that a bundle of 500 votes was misallocated by Burnley counting staff to the tiny pro-Remain UKEUP rather than to UKIP: to anyone with political experience, the reported result in Burnley looks obviously wrong. This is the sort of error that potentially could have cost UKIP £5,000 – but no party representative was on hand to correct it!

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