UKIP plot to block anti-Islam takeover

Jane Collins (right) now has the support of three former rival candidates in her bid for UKIP leadership – though her fellow Yorkshire & Humber MEP Mike Hookem (left) is supporting Henry Bolton

Four of the candidates in the chaotic UKIP leadership election have united in a last-ditch effort to block anti-Islamist candidates Anne Marie Waters and Peter Whittle.

There had been eleven leadership candidates, but Scottish MEP David Coburn and two ex-Tories – Gloucestershire councillor Ben Walker and former Hertfordshire councillor Marion Mason – have abandoned their own campaigns and now back Jane Collins, a Yorkshire MEP who polled 22% at the Rotherham by-election in 2012.

This new alliance calling itself UKIP United will be formally launched tomorrow at a 10am Westminster press conference, and backs Jane Collins for UKIP leader with Coburn to be her deputy and Walker to be appointed party chairman. UKIP United is supported by one of the party’s biggest donors, retired bookmaker Alan Bown.

In a letter released to party members yesterday, Ms Collins strongly criticised both the outgoing leadership of Paul Nuttall and his general election campaign team.  At several points in her letter she attacks small groups of London activists, in an appeal to party members outside the capital and an implied attack on leadership favourite Peter Whittle (described by the Jewish Chronicle as “the Israel-loving friendly face of UKIP”) who is a member of the London Assembly and was last year’s UKIP candidate for Mayor of London.

Ms Collins denounced this year’s UKIP general election campaign for its obsession with “nonsense about burkas and beekeepers as the leadership lurched from one PR disaster to another, largely of their own making.”

Retiring UKIP leader Paul Nuttall (left), who presided over a disastrous general election campaign this year, is endorsing leeadership favourite Peter Whittle (right).

Paul Nuttall has endorsed Whittle, who has signalled that if elected he would appoint Anne Marie Waters as his deputy.  Ms Waters is presently second favourite for the leadership, but is anathema to many leading figures in the party because of her open involvement with militant anti-Islam groups such as the English Defence League and Pegida.  She is a close ally of EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (alias ‘Tommy Robinson’) and her campaign team has included former BNP activist Jack Buckby.

None of the ‘moderate’ candidates had emerged as a clear challenger to Whittle and Waters, hence the field thinning out this weekend, but many members will remain confused.  Another of the fringe candidates, former parliamentary candidate David Allen, has also wound up his own campaign and endorsed Henry Bolton, a military intelligence veteran and foreign policy expert who was UKIP candidate for Kent Police & Crime Commissioner last year.

Henry Bolton (left) – dark horse in the UKIP leadership race – with Nigel Farage

Bookmakers have responded to these developments by making Bolton and Collins joint third-favourites, alongside mixed-race David Kurten (another London Assembly member) and Welsh businessman John Rees-Evans.

These four candidates are jostling in hope of emerging as the clear rival to the leading two: Whittle and Waters.  There is one remaining fringe candidate, space travel enthusiast Aidan Powlesland.

Nigel Farage seems to be backing Henry Bolton, while past leadership candidate Bill Etheridge (a West Midlands MEP seen as head of a libertarian faction) has endorsed John Rees-Evans, who would appoint Etheridge as deputy.

Ballot papers began to be sent out to UKIP members this weekend. With seven candidates (rather than the original elevcn) now on the ballot paper, the election will be decided on a simple, Westminster-style first-past-the-post basis, with no second choices available.  The winner will be announced on September 29th at UKIP’s conference in Torquay.

Meanwhile the UKIP youth wing Young Independence planned to hold its conference in Sheffield this weekend, but the event had to be cancelled after militant ‘anti-fascists’ forced the cancellation of two venues. First the Hilton Hotel cancelled the booking claiming that there had been threats to the safety of staff and other guests.  Then a second venue, the Bessemer pub which would have hosted a smaller-scale version of the conference, also cancelled, claiming they had not been told the truth about the booking.

‘Anti-fascists’ would have protested outside the venues, due to the presence of speakers Anne Marie Waters and Martin Sellner, an Austrian anti-immigration campaigner.

Having once been among the leading political parties in Britain – winning more votes than any other party at the 2014 European Parliament election – UKIP has declined to fringe status and is now easy prey for the far left, particularly because unlike racial nationalist activists, UKIP officials have no experience in street politics.

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