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?

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