UKIP leaders past and present clash over whether party should accept EDL founder ‘Robinson’

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has clashed bitterly with present leader Gerard Batten over whether the party should allow EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – aka ‘Tommy Robinson’ – to become a member. Anyone who has been in the EDL, or certain other proscribed ‘extremist’ groups such as the National Front or British National Party, is banned by UKIP’s constitution from joining the party.

Batten and some of UKIP’s Islam-obsessed faction – notably Lord Pearson of Rannoch – were keen to recruit ‘Robinson’, but Farage and his allies are concerned by the EDL founder’s criminal record and yobbish style.

Caroline Jones – former UKIP leader in the Welsh Assembly – has already quit the party and returned to the Conservatives because of Batten’s anti-Islam stance, but UKIP has managed to win back some former officials who had defected to Anne Marie Waters’ For Britain Movement – including her former deputy Jeff Wyatt.

Former BNP council candidate Robert Baggs at the For Britain Movement’s conference in Liverpool last weekend with (left) half-Pakistani anti-Muslim activist Shazia Hobbs and (right) controversial journalist Katie Hopkins.

While losing some of her original supporters, Ms Waters has won over several ex-BNP activists including former council candidate Robert Baggs, election guru Eddy Butler, 2004 London Mayoral candidate Julian Leppert, former Tower Hamlets organiser Jeff Marshall, and former West Midlands regional organiser Keith Axon.

Last Saturday Farage upstaged his old party by speaking at a rally in Bolton alongside former Brexit minister David Davis and Labour MP Kate Hoey, launching a cross-party effort to prevent ‘betrayal of Brexit’. Farage will speak at a series of further rallies for the ‘Leave Means Leave’ campaign across the country. Joining him on these platforms will be a range of speakers including Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Tim Martin, owner of the Wetherspoons chain of pubs.

 

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