Thursday, December 23

`BNP links' man quits UKIP post

A WOODBRIDGE man has quit as Parliamentary candidate for the UK Independence Party in Suffolk Coastal after confirming he had been "briefly attached" to the UK Independence Party.

Nicholas Betts-Green, who has also resigned as UKIP's branch chairman, was questioned by the party's leadership in the East of England following reports last month in the East Anglian Daily Times that he had found the BNP "appealing" because of its hostile attitude to the European Union.

UKIP's regional organiser Charlie Cole visited Mr Betts-Green who, after considering his position, decided to stand down.

His resignation was confirmed by UKIP Euro MP Tom Wise, who said Suffolk Coastal UKIP members would hold an emergency meeting on December 29 to discuss replacing Mr Betts-Green and would then issue a statement to the media.

Mr Betts-Green, who could not be contacted yesterday, was cleared originally to stand by the party's national leadership in September, even though he had admitted his BNP connection to the then acting Chief Executive Piers Marchant when interviewed for the candidate's list.

A former teacher at Cheltenham Ladies College and Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge, Mr Betts-Green was educated at Woodbridge School, as was Nick Griffin, the BNP leader last week released on bail after being arrested by police investigating the extent of racism in the organisation.

When questioned by the EADT last month, Mr Betts-Green confirmed his links to British National Party. "Unwisely I agreed to attend a talk he (Griffin) gave in Ipswich.

"Knowing of my dislike for all things about the EU, he played up the BNP's anti-EU stance.

"It was this which persuaded me, very briefly, to attached myself to the BNP. I regretted it at once because the people I met were somewhat rabid in their views."

A former member of the Conservative Party, Mr Betts-Green remains a member of the Conservative Monday Club which was expelled from association with the Tories in October 2001 because of its views were said not to be compatible with mainstream conservatism.

Suffolk Coastal's Tory MP John Gummer said yesterday he did not wish to comment "on UKIP's internal affairs."

Source: East Anglian Daily Times, 20 December 2004
See also:

Monday, December 13

Ex-Tory will fight for UKIP at next election

A Former Conservative councillor is to represent the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in Gloucester at the next General Election.

Coun Gary Phipps defected to the anti-Europe party in the summer, after becoming disillusioned with the Conservative Party's attitude towards membership of the European Union. Tory leader Michael Howard has stated that his party wants to stay in the EU, a policy Coun Phipps felt unable to support.

He said: "Michael Howard has made it clear that the Conservative Party is committed to membership of the EU, however damaging that is to this country.

"That is unacceptable to me because I believe that the people of this country should only be ruled by those whom they can hire and fire, namely members of the Westminster Parliament.

"UKIP, on the other hand, believes in only friendship and free trade with Europe.

"It is the only party which does not want to surrender the government of this country to unelected EU officials like Peter Mandelson.

"So it is the only moderate party in British politics today which can have any real policies over most issues.

"UKIP branch chairman Mike Smith said: "Gary would make an excellent MP for the city."

He has proved himself to be a hard-working county councillor with a reputation for getting things done.

"He obviously cares deeply for his community and serves it well.

"UKIP came third in the European elections in the city and with the disillusionment and distrust of the Government and the reluctance of the electorate to turn to the main opposition party, we expect to do even better whenever Tony Blair goes to the country.

"Coun Phipps added: "I feel privileged to be in a party which appreciates its members as individuals and for what they can contribute.

"UKIP is the only truly pro-British, non-racist party in politics.

"I am proud to be British and to live in a multiracial Britain, something I hope all British citizens, of whatever origin or faith, will join me in promoting.

"I am honoured to have been chosen to make my contribution to the city of Gloucester."

Source: The Gloucester Citizen, December 8th 2004

UKIP call Tory MP Cash's bluff over Europe

For more than a decade, Staffordshire Conservative MP Bill Cash has been the public face of euro-scepticism.

But now he has been targeted by the United Kingdom Independence Party - for not being critical of Europe enough.

Their deputy leader Mike Nattrass, a West Midlands MEP, has been chosen to fight Mr Cash's Stone seat at the next General Election.

UKIP, which has its headquarters in Birmingham, is putting up one of its strongest candidates because they believe Mr Cash is merely "posing" as a euro-sceptic which might come as a surprise to the MP himself. He led the campaign against the Maastricht treaty which almost destroyed John Major's government, voting against it 47 times.

He can also be relied upon to mention the EU almost every time he speaks in the Commons. However, UKIP said he did support Maastricht.

Mr Nattrass said: "So far, Mr Cash has been posing as a eurosceptic. Does he believe in the sovereignty of Parliament and the self-determination of the British electorate in all matters or does he believe that powers should be ceded to the EU?

"If he believes in the former he should sign a UKIP membership application form immediately and fight the seat as a UKIP candidate".

Paul Barnish, chairman of the UKIP Stone Constituency Association, said: "I am delighted that this branch will stand up against Bill Cash who for too long has been trying to get the best of both worlds by facing in both directions."

Source: Birmingham Post, December 10th 2004

Friday, December 10

Will they be there next time?

In advance of session in Strasbourg next week, we'll look at the reports which MEPs will be discussing.

Foreign Affairs Committee
Turkey's progress towards accession
Bulgaria's progress towards accession
Romania's progress towards accession
Democracy, the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms in third countries
Gerard Batten (substitute) not present for the votes in Committee

Budgetary Control Committee
Convention on the future of the European Union (2003 discharge)
Jeffrey Titford and Ashley Mote not present for the vote in Committee

Culture and Education Committee
Framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences (Europass)
Tom Wise present for the vote on Committee

Fisheries Committee
Extension of the EC-Comoros Fisheries Protocol
Protection of deep-water coral reefs in certain areas of the Atlantic Ocean
Nigel Farage (substitute) not present for votes


Thursday, December 9

UKIP opens general election shop

The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has opened its first "general election shop" in the Kent town of Ramsgate.

The shop will sell "patriotic goods", among them umbrellas bearing the pound sign, bathrobes and stickers.

The store is in Labour MP Stephen Ladyman's South Thanet constituency, being contested by Nigel Farage, UKIP leader in the European Parliament.

Mr Farage opened the shop on Wednesday and said the party was looking to get its first MPs at the next election.

Mr Farage said: "It's very important we make that first breakthrough and get into Westminster.

"We've got every chance of doing that provided we target our resources correctly."

The UKIP shop will also provide election campaign and policy information to voters in the South Thanet constituency.


Titford: Farage will be next leader

In a public meeting in the East of England region last week, Jeffrey Titford said that Nigel Farage will be the next leader of UKIP. He said Farage is young and brilliant and Kilroy-Silk has given the party and the UKIP cause, nothing.

Source: Anonymous

UKIP leadership vote rejected

UKIP could face a court challenge after its high command rejected demands for a vote on whether to hold a leadership contest.

Fifty-one branch chairmen who support MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk have called for an emergency general meeting - enough to force the move under party rules.

But the leadership says the motion is invalid as the chairmen need to hold local meetings to support the demands.

The emergency general meeting would vote on whether to hold a postal ballot of party members on choosing a new leader. However, Roger Knapman says that his telephone poll shows he has the support of the party chairs. Kilroy-Silk declared the poll as unfair.

UKIP spokesperson Quentin Williamson said: "The faction which wants to press Robert Kilroy-Silk forward as potential leader has gathered the signatures of 51 branch chairmen to demand an emergency general meeting of the whole party.

"It was presented to the national executive committee on Monday. But to have an emergency meeting it means all those branches must have had an emergency general meeting to permit their chairman to do so.

"This has not happened in any case."

London Assembly member, Damian Hockney will meet with lawyers next week to discuss the next step for the party. He said: "We have to take advice immediately because because if we are going to do something, it has to be done quickly so it does not conflict with the election campaign."

And he said the leadership was concentrating on campaigning efforts, with its first election "campaign shop" due to open on Wednesday in the target seat of Thanet South.

Ex-chat show host Mr Kilroy-Silk says UKIP would self-destruct if the leadership expelled him from the party.


Wednesday, December 8

Rustie to fight for Forest seat

Former celebrity chef Rustie Lee will fight one of the Midlands most hotly-contested constituencies for the UK Independence Party at the next General Election.

Lee was recently selected as the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Wyre Forest by local party members.

She will campaign on the re-opening of Kidderminster Hospital and will aim to ensure local residents receive better healthcare provision.

She expressed her anger at the closure of the local hospital, saying: "They would not allow this to happen to their own families."

The independent MP announced last month she is to stand again.

Retired GP Richard Taylor said he would defend his seat, which he won with a 17,630 majority in 2001, at the next election.

Dr Taylor defeated Labour's David Lock following a campaign dominated by the future of Kidderminster Hospital.

Source: Birmingham Post, December 7th 2004

Tuesday, December 7

UKIP vote against Ukraine resolution

UKIP voted against a resolution on the Ukraine that strongly condemned the conditions for the second round of the Presidential elections and the validity of the result. UKIP's reasoning for doing so was on the grounds that the EU should not be interfering in the affairs of the nation state especially ones that are not even members of the EU. Indeed, they believe that using the European Parliament to bring about change only strengthens the institution.

However, all UKIP has shown is a deep lack of respect for the people of the Ukraine. They must think that the recent elections were free and fair, untainted by interference.

Source: Anonymous

Monday, December 6

Wreaths are not a Political Football

A Political party has been accused of attempting to make political capital out of Remembrance Day by laying wreaths with the group's logo. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) laid wreaths for fallen heroes marked with the group's bright yellow and black pound-sign logo.

They were placed at Cenotaphs in Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle, Leek and elsewhere across the region as part of 4,000 across the country.

Wreaths are usually laid by the mayor on behalf of communities - without any political allegiance.

Councillors claim UKIP has used Remembrance Day as a "political football" and say advertising political parties at such services is in bad taste.

UKIP representatives have hit back by dubbing the dispute petty and unfair and have revealed that each wreath was bought for £18 from the Royal British Legion (RBL), raising £72,000 for the organisation.

Newcastle UKIP chairman David Nixon laid his party wreath at the town centre cenotaph, saying the party was only following the wishes of veterans by laying 'political' wreaths across the county.

He said: "At our national conference, a veteran stood up asking UKIP to lay wreaths across the country because it would raise money for the British Legion."

He argued that if the RBL could produce wreaths for UKIP there was nothing stopping other political parties raising money for war veterans by doing the same.

Newcastle Conservative group leader Simon Tagg also took part in the Newcastle ceremony, saying Mr Nixon's wreath-laying left "a bad taste".

"Political parties don't put down their own wreaths because the Newcastle mayor does so on their behalf," he explained. "These wreaths are not political footballs."

Source: The Sentinel (Stoke), November 20th 2004

Slurry tipped over Kilroy

Robert Kilroy Silk had a bucket of slurry tipped over him last night.

The Eurosceptic MEP was attacked on arriving to appear on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions? at a Manchester school. Some of the slurry also struck the Cabinet Office minister, Ruth Kelly. The MEP said his assailant (over 6ft and white) shouted: "You've offended my religion, I'm doing this in the name of Islam." A school worker apprehended the man.

Mr Kilroy Silk said he told his attacker: "You obviously like shit, have some back." He claimed he had "gently massaged it into his hair and spread it across his face". The man was allowed to go while the MEP changed his clothes.

He said afterward: "This is what happens when people can't deal with free speech."

In January, he stepped down as presenter of Kilroy after being taken off air by BBC bosses for describing Arabs as "suicide bombers, limb-amputators, women repressors".

He was elected East Midlands MEP as a member of the UK Independence party, but has since resigned the party whip. Speaking on Any Questions? he said he hoped to be elected leader before Christmas. A Ukip spokesman later said this would be impossible, because 70 days' notice was required for an election.

Source: The Guardian, December 4th 2004

Wednesday, December 1

BNP link admitted by candidate

A PROSPECTIVE parliamentary candidate for the UK Independence Party has admitted he was “briefly attached” to the far-right British National Party.

Nicholas Betts-Green, from Woodbridge, who has been selected to fight the Suffolk Coastal seat at the next election, said the British National Party (BNP) had appealed to him because of its hostile attitude to the European Union.

A retired teacher and motorcycle enthusiast, Mr Betts-Green was educated at Woodbridge School, as was BNP leader Nick Griffin.

“Unwisely, I agreed to attend a talk he gave in Ipswich. Knowing of my dislike for all things EU, he played up the BNP's anti-EU stance,” said Mr Betts-Green.

“It was this which persuaded me, very briefly, to attach myself to the BNP. I regretted it at once because of the people I met were somewhat rabid in their views.

“I have always felt the BNP to be unelectable because of their earlier National Front associations and I detached myself as rapidly as possible."

I never did anything of any kind for them and that one meeting was the only time I ever attended any sort of group.”

Mr Betts-Green said he had made it “absolutely clear” in August to the UK Independence Party's (UKIP) then acting chief executive, Piers Marchant, that he had attended the Ipswich meeting.

He wrote to Mr Marchant saying he would understand if his brief connection with the BNP ruled him out as a UKIP candidate, but was told he could proceed with his application.

Mr Betts-Green was interviewed by a panel of three UKIP members after the annual autumn conference in Bristol and given permission to seek the nomination to contest the Suffolk Coastal seat held by Conservative MP John Gummer.

Although no longer a member of the Conservative Party, Mr Betts-Green has remained a member of the Conservative Monday Club, which pledges its “loyalty to the Crown, opposes any interference to our judiciary, Parliament or economy by Brussels” and believes that anyone offered UK citizenship “must be able to show that they can use English as a first language”.

The club was expelled from association with the Tories in October 2001 because its views were said not to be compatible with mainstream Conservatism.

Mr Betts-Green, who served in the RAF and worked for British Airways before turning to teaching at Cheltenham Ladies College and later Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge, said his reason for joining the Monday Club was to enable him to get hold of the organisation's research papers, which were “mines of information of an anti-EU nature”.

Source: East Anglian Daily Times, 30th November 2004