by BDP Elections Officer
There is growing anger among the grassroots within UKIP about accusations that nominations for seats are being sewn up by UKIP HQ and local activists ignored.
Tory defector Robin Hunter-Clarke, 22, the local branch chairman in Boston and Skegness, initially selected a shortlist of five Ukip candidates seeking nomination for the top target seat. He was not on the first list he compiled in August – including Neil Hamilton the disgraced former MP whose attempts to secure the spot have now failed. It’s claimed his name was added to the list at the last moment by UKIP’s NEC.
Mr Hunter-Clarke has now won the nomination with around 85 per cent of the vote.
Paul Wooding, a Royal Mail driver and one of the original candidates, said he was only told of a new shortlist on the morning of the vote. It is now understood that he will stand as an independent in Boston and Skegness describing the selection to The Independent as a ‘pantomime orchestrated by the all-powerful NEC’.
This follows on from last year when Chris Pain was removed as Ukip’s leader on Lincolnshire County Council, and he founded a new grouping of six members on the Council losing Ukip opposition status. He will now stand in Boston and Skegness for another party against Ukip.
Further, Gogglebox star Andrew Michael, 55, the son of Cypriot migrants, was last week confirmed as Ukip candidate for Hastings and Rye after the NEC deselected long-term Ukip activist Ralph Atkinson from the post.
In September long-term activist Roger Lord, 57, was ousted by Douglas Carswell, who had left the Conservative party and his position as Clacton MP to be chosen as the primary Ukip candidate in the triggered by-election. Roger Lord was Ukip’s candidate in this seat.
Suzanne Evans, deputy chairman and former girlfriend of the suspended general secretary Roger Bird, defected from the Tories last May and will stand for Ukip in Shrewsbury and Atcham.
Just like the Lab/Lib/Con parties, UKIP is favouring celebrities and big party defectors instead of grass root activists for seats, thus sidelining the very people who helped them to grow. So much for the ‘People’s army’. More like a copycat of Labour and the Conservatives.
We suggest that all those who want a party that backs its activists should join the British Democrats