Friday, October 29

Joan Collins may not vote UKIP

Jaon Collins revealed this week that she may be a patron of UKIP, but she wouldn't necessarily vote for it.

In an interview for Spectator Magazine she said, "I am not a supporter. I'm a patron. 'Patron' means they put my name at the head of their paper. And it means I could be a supporter but it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to vote that way. I understand there have been some changes."

The news came after Kilroy-Silk withdrew from UKIP. Kilroy-Silk persuaded her to join the party.

Source: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/otherparties/story/0,,1338144,00.html

You're all Barmy!

Kilroy-Silk withdrew from the UKIP whip in the European Parliament on Wednesday (27th October).

The decision means that he will be under no obligation to vote with, or work in general with, other members of the party in the Parliament. He will retain his office in the European Parliament but will sit with the independent non-aligned MEPs in the Chamber.

He refused to take part in the usual daily meeting of UKIP MEPs in Strasbourg this week and announced his decision to withdraw from the whip to the press, without consulting with his colleagues.

Kilroy-Silk said, "I am relieved and happy to leave a group which engaged in barmy politics."

Leader, Roger Knapman, was keen to point out that Kilroy-Silk jumped and was not pushed from the party. Knapman said, "He did have talents, particularly in the promotion of the party and of himself. But he has caused us a lot of negative coverage."

Sources: http://www.ukip.org/abc_news/gen12.php?t=1&id=1068
http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,,1337642,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3958273.stm

Mote confused about Corruption?

Dismissed UKIP MEP, Ashley Mote, released a press release on 21st October entitled "MEP says Britain should stop paying Brussels £12 billion/year until fraud eliminated."

Mote served documents on Robert Wardle, director of the Serious Fraud Office, inviting him to investigate the persistent and massive misuse of British taxpayers’ money.

The documents include include allegations such as the lack of financial control within the EU, saying some 95 percent of EU funds are not properly accounted for, and there has been no audit of the EU’s treasury for the last 14 years.

Why then did Mote sign into the Budget Committee on Monday 25th October, but fail to stay? The Committee was discussing irregular payments under the CAP and the procedure for future appointments of the OLAF Supervisory Committee.

Wednesday, October 27

Oi!

Kilroy-Silk was refused the floor by Josep Borrell, but he was not ordered to leave the hemicycle.

As MEPs discussed the controversy about the proposed appointment of Rocco Buttiglione as a European commissioner, Kilroy-Silk laughed and shouted, "Point of order. Oi! Point of order" while banging his desk.

As he yelled out Socialist group leader Martin Schulz, who was trying to speak during a debate on the new EU Commission, said sarcastically: "Perhaps Parliament's medical services could despatch some tranquillisers."

Sources: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3958273.stm
http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/story.jsp?story=576756
The Sun, Thursday 28th Ocotber 2004

Wednesday, October 20

Irrecoverable position

Has the UK Independence party (Ukip) developed as much disdain for people with mental health problems as it has for Europe? The party's website states that, to protect itself from "extremists", anyone "with a record of serious mental illness" is barred from applying to become a parliamentary or council candidate.

Evidently, winning votes from the mental health lobby has never been Ukip's priority. Its most high profile MP is Robert Kilroy-Silk, who last year was shortlisted for Mind's bigot of the year award for his anti-mental illness rants in tabloid newspapers.

Ukip's director of communications, Mark Croucher, insists his party will not change its policy. He clarifies that the party's definition of serious mental illness encompasses schizophrenia, but not depression or manic depression. "As the condition [schizophrenia] is widely regarded as incurable, this is a good reason to debar such people from office," he says. "The majority of people recognise that while schizophrenia is controllable with medication, you cannot get better.
"I am not aware of any MP or someone holding political office who suffers from schizophrenia.
With manic depression, for example, there can be a resolution."

Paul Farmer is director of public affairs of Rethink, a charity that campaigns against discrimination towards those with a mental health diagnosis. He accuses Ukip of "shocking" discrimination and has demanded that it change its rules.

"Ukip's shocking policy on mental health issues beggars belief," Farmer says. "Their stigmatising approach is based on prejudice, ignorance and fear, not the facts about severe mental illness. It is a rule that belongs to the dark ages, not the 21st century. People who have experienced severe mental illness have gone on to work in business, politics and public life."

I put Croucher's comments to Ron Coleman, who, after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, went on later to become a director of a company with 14 employees, and now travels the world lecturing on recovery. "It's nonsense that people do not recover from schizophrenia," he says. "Ukip knows nothing about mental health."

Source: Society Guardian, Wednsday 20th October 2004

UKIP Leadership Challenge - is it finally over?

Kilroy-Silk has finally been told to join the team or go it alone.

The results of Knapman's phone poll of party chairmen clearly shows that they are happy with the current leader. 75% of the 235 chairmen polled support Knapman, compared to 12% who are in favour of a change.

Knapman told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme, "We are asking him to make up his mind either to support the party or plough a single furrow."

He said he wanted Mr Kilroy-Silk 'back in the fold - but as a team player'.

" Team players must cease attacks on their own party on this daily basis. I very much hope Robert will come back into the fold because if he continues to cause problems for the party then it dispirits our thousands of activists who really are very very, motivated."

However, Kilroy-Silk is determined not to give up. He told BBC radio today that he would become a team player. " The problem is there is no team. There was not a single spokesman on a single subject." I am trying to create a serious political party. It is not about the leadership, it is about what kind of party we want. I want the party to be in fighting-fit form at the next General Election."

He said that to keep quiet would be to let down the British people.

" I would actually be perpetuating a fraud. You are asking me to keep quiet about what I know to be extremely important and serious defects in the party. And that would be a fraud on the British electorate and I am not prepared to be a party to that deception."

He denied he was now out in the cold.

" It does not feel very cold where I am. I feel in the heat of the kitchen and you know what - I am not getting out."

Sources: Gallery News, Wednesday 20th October 2004
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3755012.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,,1331241,00.html

See also: The Joy of Swivel Eyed Loons by Anthony Wells

Tuesday, October 19

Kilroy-Silk bemused by "secret leadership poll"

The UKIP leadership debate is still threatening to tear UKIP apart as Kilory-Silk found out about Roger Knapman's poll of party chairmen intended to consolidate his power in the job.

Kilroy-Silk told thee BBC today that he was 'very bemused' but happy they had been converted to the idea of a leadership election. "But why don't they hold an honest, open election where the results are verifiable - instead of having this backdoor poll which is reminiscent of a banana republic. If they want to have a poll let's have a proper one."

It had been agreed in Brussels last week to put to one side any questions about the leadership but that agreement had been broken by the leadership with the poll, he said. But since that meeting, Mr Kilroy-Silk had written to 400 party chairman asking if they wanted to be ruled by a cabal and whether they wanted to be a political party or a pressure group. Mr Kilroy-Silk said his letter had not been a leadership bid but a call for a debate on the party's future.

However, it appears that Knapman has more supporters than the former Labour MP. So far of the 115 chairmen contacted so far out of a total of 235, 79 have backed Mr Knapman, 15 supported Mr Kilroy-Silk and 21 were undecided.

The new UKIP donor, Alan Bown, has now threatened to withdraw any more funding if Kilroy-Silk continues his leadership bid. He has appealed for unity. He said, "It seems to me completely unnecessary to go through a leadership contest so near to a general election.

"The figures agree with my own view that there should be no contest.

"Consequently, I am appealing to Robert to abandon his leadership bid for the sake of party unity.

"If Robert decides to continue with his leadership challenge, I will reluctantly have to reconsider the funding that I have promised for his personal election campaign in the East Midlands. "

Mr Bown praised Mr Knapman in his efforts as the party leader, adding that he has increased party membership from 8,000 to 26,500.

Source: Gallery News, Tuesday 19th Ocotber 2004, http://politics.guardian.co.uk/otherparties/story/0,,1330879,00.html
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3755012.stm

Monday, October 18

Disgraced Aitken 'May Stand as Ukip Candidate'

Disgraced former Tory Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken may attempt a political comeback by contesting his old parliamentary seat for the UK Independence Party, it emerged today.

Aitken, 62, lost his Thanet, Kent constituency at the 1997 election after 23 years.

He was jailed for 18 months for perjury in 1999, and Tory Leader Michael Howard has made it clear he will not be allowed to represent his old party in the House of Commons again.

However, in an interview with the Kent On Sunday newspaper published today, Aitken said he was now considering standing as a UKIP candidate.

“There’s a temptation there, an interest there, so I am genuinely pondering it in a hesitant way.

He added: “We know from the very good vote that UKIP got in Thanet generally, and in Kent, that the UKIP candidate will get a very respectable vote.

“There is bound to be a UKIP candidate in South Thanet. Whether he’s called Brown, Jones or Aitken that candidate will do well.”

Aitken said he would wait until after the UKIP party conference in Bristol next month to make a final decision on whether to run.“

I want to see a bit more of UKIP I’m planning to go as an observer to their conference.”

Source: http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=3520688

Bloom faces harrassment claim

Bloom has officially failed to redeem himself as a non-sexist member of the European Parliament's Women's Commitee.

After inviting a group of female students from Cambridge University last month, he is now facing accusations of sexual harrassment from one of the group.

In a formal letter of complaint written to the President of the Parliament, Rebecca Bowtell claims she witnessed the MEP "sexually harassing a number of women, and making a constant stream of sexist and misogynistic remarks."

In her letter, Ms Bowtell, claims that Mr Bloom turned to a colleague and said: 'Isn't she the most delicious bimbette? Absolutely thick, but good tits'.

Mr Bloom has strongly denied any allegations that he touched the Ms Bowtell's leg telling the Independent: "I was not sitting at her table. My wife was at the dinner, there was no impropriety. The whole thing is complete and total nonsense. It has been concocted. She is following a political agenda. It was a grotesque abuse of hospitality."

He believes that Ms Bowtell has political motivations. He said, 'I think there is a political motive here. She is from Robinson College women's union - which explains everything. I am relatively new to politics and not used to this sort of thing.

As well as feeling intimidated by Mr Bloom's comments, Ms Bowtell is also shocked that he used EU funding to subsidise a visitors group not from his own constituency. She wrote in her letter: "As none of us are actually Mr Bloom's constituents, my first complaint against him is that he is misusing EU funds to further his own ends, in this instance a PR exercise involving the Cambridge University Women's Rugby Team."

Ms Bowtell is seriously considering reporting Mr Bloom to the Belgian Police.

Sources: http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=572690
Daily Mail, Saturday 16th October 2004,
Sunday Mirror, Sunday 17th October 2004

Friday, October 15

Ukip party split over Tory stance

STAFFORD’S UK Independence Party (Ukip) is refusing to toe the party line by supporting Tory Euro sceptic David Chambers instead of fielding its own representative in a general election.


The party in the town wants to avoid anti-European voters being forced to split their vote between either themselves or the Conservatives - and allowing Labour’s David Kidney to remain in Parliament.
The move could anger senior Ukip members nationally as it goes against the party’s decision to field candidates in all constituencies rather than helping the Tories.

Speaking at the weekend, high-profile MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk said if the party refused to put candidates forward in some areas it would go against Ukip’s aim to "kill" the Conservatives.

Ukip’s main cash provider multi-millionaire Paul Sykes this week withdrew his backing because he believes standing against Tory Euro sceptics will be a disaster for the country.

He says Ukip cannot win a general election and standing in every constituency would damage the Tories, the only Euro sceptic party capable of forming a government.

Mr Sykes, who has funded many of Ukip’s campaigns, has now opted to support the Conservatives instead.

Paul Gilbert, Ukip’s Stafford constituency association chairman, said he was pleased by Mr Sykes’ decision.

"I am delighted that Mr Sykes has reinforced the commitment that I and the association have made," he said.

"This is a stance I feel we should make.

"It would be a pointless exercise for the Ukip to field candidates in constituencies with sitting Europhobe MPs or where there are stronger Europhobe candidates with a greater possibility than the Ukip of winning that seat.

"The probability will be to split the Euro sceptic vote and return a pro-European to Westminster. This is certainly self defeating.

"We should be consistent throughout the country as otherwise it will dilute the Euro sceptic vote."

Mr Gilbert said Stafford members would now use their energies to support Victor Chell, chairman of the South Staffordshire constituency, in his efforts to dislodge MP and pro European Sir Patrick Cormack.

Meanwhile, Mr Chambers, speaking from the Tory party conference in Bournemouth, said he was delighted with the news.

"I am a Euro sceptic. I support Michael Howard in wanting to pull powers back from Brussels," he said.

"If we were unable to do that then I personally would call for a referendum for the British people. I think Ukip members in Stafford are very happy to support that.

"A lot of people in all walks of life are unhappy with Europe’s role in their lives. If we have a third term Labour government we will enter the single European currency and that will lead to a federal Europe. The vast majority of people are totally opposed to that."

Mr Kidney said he was unconcerned by the news, but declined to comment any further.

Source: http://www.staffordshirenewsletter.co.uk/detail.asp?cat=General%20News&id=4947269

Wednesday, October 13

UKIP - No Connections with the BNP?

The UK Independence Party held its AGM this weekend, and following its success in the European elections the leadership is determined to show what a thoroughly sane and respectable bunch they now are - even if the the presence of Robert Kilroy-Solk would seem to suggest otherwise.

As the UKIP website boasts: "In order to protect the party from infiltration by extremists... all prospective parliamentary candidates and constituency office bearers must sign declarations confirming that they have no criminal record, no record of serious mental illness and no previous association with extremist political groups of right or left."

No doubt this will come as surprise to Martyn Heale, charman of the fast-growing UKIP branch in South Thanet. Heale, a sometime prison officer at Wormwood Scrubs, was previously a branch organiser and council candidate for the National Front.

Source: Private Eye, Number 1116, 1 - 14 October 2004

Monday, October 11

25 things you didn't know about UKIP

Press release from Richard Corbett MEP and Britain in Europe:

Corbett and BE expose UKIP’s darkest secrets

Pro-European campaign group Britain in Europe has published a comprehensive report, entitled 25 things you didn’t know when you voted for UKIP.

Written by Richard Corbett, an expert on the European Parliament and an MEP in Yorkshire, the document is to be launched tomorrow at a press conference in Brussels. It is already available in the UK.

The cornerstone of Corbett’s report is an analysis of current and recent links between UKIP and other extreme-right groups, including the BNP, the National Front and the New Britain Party.

But the document also highlights UKIP’s pronouncements on subjects ranging from immigration (“bleating blacks and Asians… why don’t they stop whining and get a life?”), to women’s rights (“No self-respecting businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age”), to terrorism (the UK's position in the EU is analogous to Chechnya's position in Russia), to gay rights (“I don’t want to campaign around gays… I don’t think they do a lot for society”).

And it investigates the dubious histories of many of UKIP’s leading activists, as well as the appalling record of UKIP’s MEPs in the European Parliament.

Richard Corbett said:

“It’s been common knowledge for months that there’s more motivating the UK Independence Party than they are prepared to admit. But this is the first time that a single document has brought together strands of evidence from dozens of sources, each carefully referenced and double-checked.

“The views expressed by UKIP’s representatives range from the sickening, to the risible, to the downright bizarre. This report exposes them for what they truly are.”

Full document here: 25 things you didn't know about UKIP

Friday, October 8

UKIP - Not A Proper Party?

UKIP are not a proper party in Wales, as is proved in the Electoral Commission's publication: 'The National Assembly for Wales Election 2003 - Campaign Spending'. Instead of running a proper, funded local campaign in every seat, they opt for high visibility advertising.

"The United Kingdom Independence Party reported having spent £33,779 on election materials, more than either Plaid Cymru or the Conservatives. While they incurred significant expenditure of£6,162 and £5,124 on producing party broadcasts and overheads respectively, UKIP's expenditure appears to have been mainly concentrated in two areas - election materials and advertising - on which they reported having spent £23,182, more than any other party that contested the election."

"UKIP reported a high level of campaign expenditure. Constituency candidates representing the party however reported relatively low levels of expenditure. The 19 UKIP candidates who submitted election expenditure returns reported total expenditure of£11,209 - an average of £509 per candidate. Where party expenditure is higher but the expenditure levels of the party's candidates are comparatively low, this could reflect a more centralised or generic campaign strategy."

Another notable aspect of UKIP's expenditure was the £90 it spent onits manifesto. (This compares with £11,215 spent by theConservatives). By comparison, UKIP spent £33,779 on unsolicited materials to electors. This demonstrates their complete arrogance with regard to policy development and the democratic process with regard to the Welsh Assembly.

It is also noteworthy that Elizabeth Phillips UKIP's candidate in Brecon & Radnorshire was one of only four candidates not to submit returns as to election expenses. (The others were 2 Independents and one Tory in the Rhondda). Failure to submit expenses is an illegal act.

Source: http://www.electoralcommission.gov.uk/templates/search/document.cfm/8855
Wales in Europe

What exactly do MEPs do...? (Part 3)

It appears the novelty is wearing off for some of the UKIP MEPs. Titford and Mote were both absent from the Cocobu Meeting last Tuesday when other committee members debated the ECA (European Court of Auditors) Special Report on the Recovery of Irregular Payments under the CAP amounting to €3 billion with the ECA and Commission.

It also appears that UKIP have decided not to put a member on the Temporary Committee on Policy Challenges and Budgetary Means of the Enlarged Union 2007-2013.

Source: Anonymous, European Parliament web site


Wednesday, October 6

Not So Wise...

MEDIA is the EU funded programme that promotes European film - pump-priming smallproducers and targetting cross-border productions and specialist areas of film. It actually generates income that is then reinvested in film production.

In a discussion on the new programme in the Parliament's Culture Committee, Tom Wise (UKIP Member for Eastern Region) described the programme as propaganda, the like of which Goebbels would have been proud.

Source: Anonymous

Kilroy-Silk told to "toe the party line"

UKIP leader, Roger Knapman, has warned Kilroy-Silk to "toe the party line" and become a "team-player" or face disciplinary action.

Knapman confirmed in an interview on BBC Radio 4 that there was never a deal that Kilroy-Silk would replace him after the June elections. "Does he want a UK independence party based on politics or a Kilroy-Silk party based on showbiz?

"I'd like to make it perfectly clear, despite what was said, at no stage did I ever enter into any conversation, let alone discussion with Robert about handing over leadership of the party. Therefore there is no agreement, and therefore no agreement which I could renege upon.

"The party leadership was determined by one person, one vote, so there would be no straight hand over, " he said."If I was to resign, then quite frankly other people would put their hats in and quite frankly I wonder at Robert's age why he wants to do it because I think the vast majority would go for somebody like Nigel Farage, the next generation."

He added: "It is one thing to be ambitious. He must start to think about being a team player. I think Robert is beginning to understand that politics is a bit more serious a business than he might have been engaged in for a while."

"But he must understand that we can't forever tolerate people who cannot toe the party line. We have disciplinary procedures - it is not a question of that as yet.

"He wants to be party leader apparently. I think he will soon grasp the understanding that there is no question of that happening, but if he waits for two years and has a good record in the eyes of the party membership as a loyal member of the team, then he stands a chance of being made leader."

Sources: Gallery News, Tuesday 5th October 2004, http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/politics/story.jsp?story=569237

New Donor for UKIP

After the shocking news yesterday that Paul Sykes was refusing to fund UKIP, it didn't take long for a Kent businessman to come up with the cash.

Alan Bown, who has already dontated £500,000 to UKIP, said on BBC Radio 4's, The World Tonight that he would "continue to fund any shortfall that's necessary through Paul's withdrawing.

"Two hundred thousand pounds would be no problem. I'm not saying I can raise £1 million overnight, but I have a considerable property portfolio and I'm happy to back whatever it takes."

Sources: Gallery News, 6th October 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3715446.stm

Tuesday, October 5

Sykes: UKIP have "blown it"

Yorkshire millionaire, Paul Sykes, has said he will not fund UKIP at the next general election after they said they wuld put candidates up against Tories who are anti the European Constitution.

The last straw came when Kilroy-Silk described the Conservative Party as a dying party and UKIP's role was to kill it.

Sykes believes that these tactics will only lose the Conservatives seats. He said on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme: "There is only one major party now that is anti-Brussels, that is for repatriating powers," he said.

"I am at least warming to what I am hearing from the Conservative Party and I have no intention whatsoever of upsetting their applecart."

Nigel Farage said the news came as a "blow" and told the Today Programme: "We have never been about UKIP as a party, as a tribe, being the most important thing."

"The most important thing to us is we get out of the EU and get back to a simply free trade agreement.

"In my opinion, we should not fighting against sitting Tory and Labour MPs who are prepared to say the right things."

However, Kilroy-Silk isn't so concerned as he explained that they have had other offers of funding. He said: "The people who have offered donations did not say so but the assumption is that they will be paying for a challenge that I will be spearheading."

Farage is now hoping that UKIP will review its position and persuade Sykes to change his mind. He said: "If he sees the UK Independence party reassess what it did on Saturday - and I very much hope that in the cold light of day we do reassess what happened on Saturday - I wouldn't rule out at some point Paul helping us again."

Sykes' announcement comes just after it has been made clear that Kilroy-Silk will not become leader of UKIP. Nigel Farage said that Kilroy-Silk will be disappointed if he wants to become leader, adding: " There is no appetite within the party at all for any form of internecine warfare. There is no desire for a leadership contest at all."

Sources: Gallery News, Tueday 5th October 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3715446.stm
http://politics.guardian.co.uk/conservatives2004/story/0,,1320144,00.html

Mandelson 1 - 0 Farage

Farage failed to upset Mandelson duing his Commissioner's hearing yesterday.

Farage, who had promised to "be there in force at the hearings" and to put Mandelson under a lot of scrutiny asked the former MP for Hartlepool whether swearing the Commissioner's oath to further EU common interests alone was a contravention of his oath of loyalty tothe Queen as a British Privy Counsellor. Mr Mandelson responded with a clear "no." He said: "I reject completely the idea that one cannot serve Britain by pursuing the interests of Europe as a whole. There is no contradiction between the two."

Mandelson didn't even get angry when Farage requested he came to the UK and campaign for a Yes vote for the European constitution, saying it would help UKIP's cause.

Mr Mandelson said he would indeed be campaigning for a Yes vote and, he retaliated to the Eurosceptic MEP by pointing out the word sceptic actually means "open to persuasion".

Sources: Sunday Express, August 15th 2004, http://www.europarl.ep.ec/press/audicom2004/resume/041001_mandelson_EN.pdf
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/3712186.stm

'Kilroy for PM' Poll Scrapped

An online poll asking readers to vote for the best candidate for Prime Minister has been scrapped - after Robert Kilroy-Silk came top.

The Bruges Group, a Euro-sceptic think-tank, organised the ballot but withdrew the results from its website saying they had been "sabotaged".

One computer had voted for UKIP MEP Kilroy-Silk more than 1,400 times pushing Tony Blair into second place, said the group's director Robert Oulds.

Before the results were scrapped, a UKIP spokesman said that Kilroy-Silk had 1521 votes, Blair 691, UKIP leader Roger Knapman 284, Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy 242, Conservative leader Michael Howard 119, and Chancellor Gordon Brown 92.

Mr Oulds said the poll was put on their website late on Friday, adding: "This happens all the time with internet polls."

He said they "run the risk of somebody sabotaging them - just a shame, it ruins it for everyone else".

Mr Kilroy-Silk stated he had no knowledge who might have been behind the alleged internet "sabotage".

He added: "It may well be that one person has masqueraded as a thousand. If they did, if they were doing it as a bit of mischief, they should have been supporting the party leader."

Source: http://icliverpool.icnetwork.co.uk/0100news/budget/page.cfm?objectid=14692601&method=full&siteid=50061

Monday, October 4

Kilroy-Silk to Challenge Leadership?

Robert Kilroy-Silk urged party members to tell the current leader, Roger Knapman, that it was time to go. He has accused Knapman of going back on his promise that he would stand down as leader after the European elections in June.

Knapman, in his defence, said: "I am here to serve. I have done my best for the party and I am happy with my record, the party is still growing. I fully anticipate serving a full four-year term as leader."

Knapman has received the support of Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader of MEPs, who said: "He has been the safe pair of hands. He has been the person with the real political experience and it has worked".

However, Kilroy-Silk responded by saying: "What everybody tells me they want is for the current leader to accept the inevitable and to stand down. That is the only way it can happen.

"We have got a very short period of time between now and the next general election - we need to start now. If we can't start now then we have missed that window of opportunity."

As there is no mechanism for Kilroy-Silk to launch a leadership challenge, he believes now members must act if they want to see he becomes leader before a possible general election next year. He claims that he has support from grassroot members and senior members of the party.

Source: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/otherparties/story/0,,1318834,00.html

Hartlepool By-Election: UKIP Push Tories into 4th Place

The turnout was 46% in the Hartleppol by-election on Thursday 30th September and UKIP celebrated as they came 3rd place, with 149 more votes than the Tories. In a press release, UKIP said the result was a "severe embarrassment for leader Michael Howard..."

UKIP leader, Roger Knapman said: "Tonight means that we approach the General Election with some confidence.

“And I very much hope and believe we can go on to win seats next year when a General Election is called ...

“We beat the Liberal Democrats in the European elections. We beat the Conservatives tonight. We are on our way.”

The Hartlepool results in full:

Iain Wright (Labour) 12,752 (40.66%, -18.49%)
Jody Dunn (Liberal Democrat) 10,719 (34.18%, +19.15%)
Stephen Allison (Ukip) 3,193 (10.18%)
Jeremy Middleton (Conservative) 3,044 (9.71%, -11.15%)
John Bloom (Respect) 572 (1.82%)
Iris Ryder (Green) 255 (0.81%)
James Starkey (National Front) 246 (0.78%)
Paul Watson (Fathers 4 Justice) 139 (0.44%)
Christopher Herriot (Socialist Labour) 95 (0.30%, -2.09%)
Richard Rodgers (The Common Good) 91 (0.29%)
Philip Berriman (Independent) 90 (0.29%)
Alan 'Howling Laud' Hope (Official Monster Raving Loony) 80 (0.26%)
Ronnie Carroll (Independent) 45 (0.14%)
Edward Abrams (English Democrats) 41 (0.13%)

Laour majority 2,033 (6.48%)
18.82% swing Lab to LD
Electorate 68,517; turnout 31,362 (45.77%, -10.47%)

Source: www.ukip.org, http://politics.guardian.co.uk/byelections/story/0,,1317475,00.html