Monday, October 31

The far right continues to haunt UKIP

New research has found that UKIP, Britain’s self styled ‘fourth political Party,’
is doing little more than battle for the far right vote rather than take on the big boys of mainstream British politics.
A report by the independent race and refugee news network shows that UKIP's ‘let's get our Country back’ attitude is striking a cord with the far right.
The research found that in the 2004 European elections in London, the British National Party (BNP) and the UK Independence Party (UKIP) vote doubled from previous years. Moreover in 2004, 45 per cent of Londoners said in a survey that they would consider voting for either the BNP or UKIP.
Professor Peter John of Manchester University, pointed out that in London, the wards where the BNP did well were also the wards where UKIP did well, suggesting that both parties were appealing to the same mindset. 'With the decline of UKIP', he asked, 'will these votes now switch to the BNP?' One in five UKIP voters put the BNP as their second choice in the London mayoral elections in 2004.
Nick Lowles, of the anti-fascist organisation Searchlight, predicted at the launch of the research "The Far Right in London: a challenge for local democracy?, " that support for the BNP in London would grow in the future as the economy weakens, the Conservative Party takes a more moderate turn, UKIP continues its demise and the BNP becomes more strategically sophisticated.
Whereas research among voters in northern towns found that until recently, the BNP attracted votes from young people and from some former Conservative Party supporters in wealthier wards, in London it remained older, working-class voters who had turned to the far Right, after becoming dissatisfied with the Labour Party.
The research suggests that the main issue which is driving rising support for the far right in outer east London is immigration, although this issue has acted as a symbol for a host of other dissatisfactions, such as poor housing and education.

Source: independent race and refugee news network

Sunday, October 30

Old habits die hard for Kilroy Slick

Robert Kilroy Silk suprised everyone this month by turning up to work for the second time in six months at a European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.
It seems that the ex chat show host has caved in to the pressure of his fellow East midland MEPs by deciding to do some "work."
Last month Kilroy's four fellow east midland MEPs wrote to the President of the Parliament calling for Kilroy's resignation due to his prolonged abscence.
This week they were pleased that their message had got through as the failed Veritas party leader turned up for work, for only the second time in six months. Nevertheless, his fellow MEPs who have unlike Kilroy been working hard to defend British interests over the last six months, were frustrated by the fact that Kilroy found himself immediately back in the lime light.
Kilroy, seemed at home strutting around in front of the camera as he filmed a special report for Sky News, in which he critises all things European and shows how blatantly uninformed he is on the EU.

To see Kilroy's only achievement in the European Parliament click here.

Wednesday, October 26

Who cares for British interests? - Only "nerds" according to Titford.

Today in the European Parliament Labour MEP Neena Gill slammed dithering UKIP MEP Jeffrey Titford for dismissing the European budget.

Speaking after a bitter exchange in the European Parliament, Neena Gill said:
"Mr Titford told parliament today that anyone who knows about the budget is a nerd. I have to follow the budget to make sure that people in the UK get a good deal from the European Union and to fight for changes that our voters want to see, such as an end to tobacco subsidies.

"For the two years that Jeffrey Titford was on the Parliament's budget committee, he was hardly ever there. UKIP are happy to make populist noises in plenary but are too lazy to do anything about it.

"If Mr Titford is serious about changing the budget, he'd make an effort to understand it."

A furious Neena Gill went on: "I have never been called a nerd before, but if it means fighting for a better deal, it's a name I'm happy to wear.

"UKIP have once again shown that they are not serious politicians. Not serious about representing the people they were elected to serve, and not serious about negotiating a deal for the British people."

As if Titford hadn't embarrassed himself already, he went on to say the European Parliament had "shrugged its shoulders, sighed and looked the other way," when it came to checking the "disgusting state of the EU’s finances."
In light of the recent article in the Sunday Telegraph, perhaps the newly appointed UKIP chairman should practice what he preaches by getting his own Party's finances in order.

Source: European Parliament minutes. 26 October 2005

Disgraced Wise coughs up

A full two days after the Sunday Telegraph accused UKIP MEP Tom Wise of fraudulently claiming £30,000 of EU taxpayers money, UKIP have finally issued a response to the damning claims.
The Sunday Telegraph revealed that Wise had claimed office allowances £36,000 of which he passed on only £6,000 for its intended purpose- to pay his assistant.
In a statement UKIP Leader in the European Parliament, Nigel Farage, said "the figures were wrong and the impression was given that Mr Wise was personally benefiting from these allowances."
Nevertheless, the statement failed to comment on why the figures were wrong. Farage also failed to address, why if the money was not intended for Wise's personal use was it not passed on to his assistant but swiftly handed back to the Parliament following the revelations.
UKIP's pitiful rebuttals also incorrectly state that Wise received no personal benefit from holding the money. The fact that Wise had £30,000 in his bank account for the best part of a year, will undoubtedly have earned Wise some pocket money in the form of interest.
Farage goes on to lambaste the accusations as statements which are "wholly false and impugns his [Wise's] integrity."
Nevertheless, Wise has so far kept a low profile at this months European Parliament in Strasbourg, only raising his voice to say "I don't fancy answering" when pushed on the issue. Not exactly the fighting talk you would expect from an innocent man.
The most obvious question that UKIP fail to answer is what the money was to be used for. UKIP which came to the European Parliament, intending to stop the so called "EU gravy train" in its tracks, looks like they have bought themselves a first class ticket and jumped right on board- destination Hypocrisy -Ville.

Source: UKIP

Tuesday, October 25

Too little too late as Wise hands your money back.

See below for UKIP's delayed and pitiful explanation as to why Tom Wise had £30,000 of YOUR money stashed in his bank account:

On Sunday 23rd October 2005, the Sunday Telegraph published an article about Tom Wise MEP and his use of the European Parliament's Secretarial Allowance.

The figures quoted were wrong and the impression was given that Mr Wise was personally benefiting from these allowances. This is wholly false and impugns his integrity.

Mr Wise fully accepts the simple principle that all UKIP MEP's must be above suspicion and regrets any confusion that the article has caused.

It is normal practice for MEP's secretarial allowances to be paid to a single person who acts as a paying agent to the contracted staff. Indeed, Mr Wise performed this function as office manager for Jeffrey Titford MEP in the 1999 - 2004 parliament. After his election in June 2004, and in the absence of any clear written rules, Mr Wise continued to act as paying agent, this time on behalf of his own staff.

UKIP cannot state strongly enough that at no time since his election has Mr Wise attempted to seek personal gain as a paying agent.

However, as recent rule changes discourage MEP's from performing this function, and after a meeting with the finance secretariat, Mr Wise has repaid all unspent balances to the Parliament.

Source: UKIP

Wise's 'indescretion' leads to UKIP crisis

At last years Euro elections it was UKIP who undoubtedly caught everyone by surprise, winning 12 seats in the European Parliament. However it wasn't long before allegations of sleaze took hold, and the party began to descend into anarchy. Within months UKIP had lost Ashley Mote MEP when it was learned that he had failed to declare an impending court case for benefit fraud, and then there was the infamous public fall out with Robert Kilroy-Silk.

Now, if the story in last weeks Sunday Telegraph proves to be true, it seems UKIP is well on its way to losing a third MEP in just over a year.

Tom Wise MEP for Eastern England appears to have been contradicting his own surname, having claimed £36,000 from the EU parliament to pay his researcher, Lindsay Jenkins, and then pocketing all but the £6,000 that he actually paid her.

Wise was once an assistant to Geoffrey Titford MEP and number two in the Eastern Region behind him. Titford recently took over the chairmanship of the Party after the resignation of Petrina Holdsworth.

It now looks as if Holdsworth's resignation was not entirely unrelated to this weeks disclosure. It appears that Wise's "indiscretion" was known to senior members of the Party who appeared to do nothing. Holdsworth quit after last month citing Party Leader Roger Knapman's inability to stand up to his colleagues.

Sources indicate that Holdsworth's demand for "greater transparency," which sparked the row with UKIP deputy leader Mike Nattrass, related directly to this issue, as rumours had spread of a gap between MEP's incomes and their actual declared spending. The former chairman's resignation has now been followed by a senior member of the Party’s NEC and more are expected to follow.

Meanwhile, Wise remains a UKIP MEP, but surely not for much longer. The third UKIP MEP in less than a year to bite the bullet now seems likely. Along with the recent loss of several National Executive Committee members, is the end now in sight for UKIP?

Source: The Sunday Telegraph, 23 October 2005

Sunday, October 23

Wise lies land Tom in hot water

UKIP MEP for the Eastern Region, Tom Wise, is this week at the centre of yet another UKIP controversy as the European Parliament gathers for its monthly meeting in Strasbourg.

An investigation by the Sunday Telegraph has revealed that Wise is claiming £36,000 a year of public money for a researcher he is paying just £6,000.

The parliament has paid Mr Wise the full £36,000 in the belief that it is being passed on to Ms Jenkins, a freelance author and researcher. Parliament rules state that the Parliament will pay the salaries of MEPs' assistants only when the amount being claimed matches the sum paid out.

However, it appears that Jenkins was unaware that, the MEP had told the European parliament that her salary was six times higher than it actually was.

Wise has since admitted that the extra money is in his bank account. He claimed that he had not intended to spend it and that he was merely "looking after it" for Ms Jenkins.

In the past UKIP have always been the first to criticise the so called 'EU gravy train.' Just recently Wise who picks up an annual salary of £59,095 plus a range of expensive perks, denounced the EU for being "a hideous waste of your money".

In a press release he said: "UKIP are the only party who think that the whole concept [of the EU] is built on a succession of lies. The proponents of the 'project' [the EU] will not tell you where it is going, if indeed they know. They will not tell you what it will cost as they have no idea. Yet you - and I - have to pay for it." - Famous last words if ever there were.

Mr Wise, first became financially connected to Ms Jenkins last autumn when they agreed a deal in which she would be paid £500 a month to work as a statistical researcher for him.

He gave her European parliament forms to sign to make her an official assistant but they did not contain the specified amount of her salary. When he applied to the parliament's payments office to register her he told them he was paying her an annual salary of £36,000.

Wise said "I have a contract between Lindsay Jenkins and the European parliament. I am not going to comment on the amount she has had." He later admitted that he was claiming £36,000 "in her name" from the payments office but that her actual payments added up to just £6,000 plus a small amount for extra work done.

When pushed on the subject as to why there is a discrepancy between the amount he pays his assistant and the amount of tax payers money he is claiming, Wise could only reply "I don't fancy answering."

A friend of 59-year-old Ms Jenkins said: "The agreement was always that she would be paid £500 a month as a retainer and for that she would work a certain number of hours.

"The sum of £36,000, or anything like it, was never mentioned to her. It was only by accident that she found out there was a lot of extra money being claimed in her name."

This episode is the latest in a series of financial misdemeanours by UKIP, the so called "straight talking Party." Last month UKIPwatch revealed that three UKIP MEPs are also refusing to play straight when it comes to their expenses. MEPs Godfrey Bloom, Roger Knapman and John Whittaker have so far failed to publicly declare their financial interests, in accordance with Parliament rules.

Source: The Sunday Telegraph, 23 Oct 2005

Thursday, October 13

Kilroy returns once more

The European Parliament was shocked for a second time this month as failed chat show host and party leader Robert Kilroy Silk manage to take time out form his busy schedule on the Costa del Sol to appear in Brussels.
Silk who last month came under increasing pressure from MEPs and the President of the Parliament to either start doing what he was elected to do or get out of politics once and for all, had been in danger of contravening Parliament rules. Rules state that if a Member does not attend half of the monthly plenary sessions they will not be entitled to pick up their Parliamentary allowances.
As Silk had not been seen in the Parliament since April, he was on the verge of being denied his allowance. This spurred him into action in Brussels.Nevertheless it was easy work for Silk, all he did was press a few buttons to register his vote and then cleared off, taking his wife also his personal secretary and chauffeur with him. Hardly the revolutionary work that he promised- to bring the European Parliament down from the inside.

Sunday, October 9

Behind the scenes personality clash overshaddows UKIP conference

It seems everyone is talking about leadership at the moment. Gordon and Tony, Ken and David and now the UKIP mob.
Last week, UKIP chairwoman Petrina Holdsworth joined in on the action after a blazing row with deputy UKIP leader, Mike Nattrass. The row which has overshaddowed UKIP's party conference this week end has unearthed deep divisions in the UKIP leadership, and lifted the lid on the Party's unprofessional personal politics.
What's more The Sunday times has now been passed a copy of the Email spat which led up to Holdsworth resignation. The emails which were circulated confidentially amongst UKIP's national executive committee, were passed on by a disgruntled member unhappy with UKIP leader Roger Knapman's handling of the affair:
  • September 26 From: Petrina Holdsworth To: UKIP MEPs and members of the National Executive Committee. "At the moment we have an awful lot of people employed by MEPs over here and I'm not sure that all of them are fully utilised."
  • September 28 From: Mike Nattrass To: Petrina Holdsworth "Petrina, when you take your swipes at MEPs you should first understand what you are saying. You suffer from a blind ignorance of the facts and refuse to understand even when your nose is pushed in it. We are expected to attend Parliament, make speeches at 10pm, leave our businesses and families to fly backwards and forwards for UKIP and then look forward to a load of crap from a chairman who does not even try to understand."
  • From: Petrina Holdsworth To: Mike Nattrass "This sort of reply is not helpful, it is just plain rude. If you are incapable of keeping a civil tongue in your head you should keep quiet."
  • From: Mike Nattrass To: Petrina Holdsworth "You are the rude one. To send a message of effective 'no confidence' in the way MEPs employ their staff and copied to the NEC is BLOODY RUDE and DESERVES A RUDE REPLY."
  • From: Petrina Holdsworth To: Mike Nattrass "Mike, there seems little point in continuing this exchange."
  • September 28, 8.53pm From: Petrina Holdsworth To: Mike Nattrass "Mike, I revisited your e-mails once the dust had settled and on reflection believe you have gone completely beyond the bounds of reasonable behaviour both in your language and in the assertions which you made. I demand an apology as I do not see that anyone on the National Executive Committee should be subject to such extraordinary abuse by a fellow member."
  • September 29 From: Mike Nattrass To: Petrina Holdsworth "Petrina it has been increasingly clear that you have a view of what MEPs do and the benefits they get which is not based on reality. Also you feel that the membership 'think we have gone native'. "I want an apology from you on this issue… If you as chairman make these misguided statements to the National Executive Committee there is no hope."
  • From: Petrina Holdsworth To: Mike Nattrass "I have warned you all of the feeling within the party. What more do you want? Blood probably. I am still waiting for my apology!"
  • Shortly after this e-mail, Ms Holdsworth decided to resign, but was persuaded back from the brink by Roger Knapman, the party leader. He and eight of the party's other MEPs wrote an open letter addressed to her.
  • October 2 From: Roger Knapman, Nigel Farage, Jeffrey Titford, Gerard Batten, Godfrey Bloom, Graham Booth, Derek Clark, Tom Wise and John Whittaker To: Petrina Holdsworth "We were very sorry to see the intemperate, inaccurate and unnecessary e-mails that you were sent. This sort of thing achieves nothing except to damage our cause. We are, however, delighted that you will stay on as chairman for the last year of Roger's period as leader." Ms Holdsworth considered the letter to be adequate, but only as a "holding statement" pending a more fulsome apology and preferably the removal of Mr Nattrass from his position.
  • Within days, however, it had all gone wrong again. By Tuesday, Ms Holdsworth had resigned for a second, and apparently final, time. She sent an e-mail to the party's NEC members to explain.
  • October 4 From: Petrina Holdsworth To: All NEC members "I was approached by Roger Knapman to rescind my resignation as chairman on the basis that Roger was willing to remove Nattrass from the deputy leadership for his recent behaviour. I agreed to that. "Roger then told me that it would be very difficult to remove it forthwith as the conferences were so close in time with all the attendant publicity. He said that he would obtain a letter from the other MEPs apologising for Nattrass's behaviour. "I went to London on the 3rd of October. On my return… nothing had been added to the short holding statement… "I am left with no alternative in my view but to resign yet again as chairman of the party and from the NEC in order to preserve my own integrity and self-respect."

Source: D Fogo, "Chairman Resigns Twice in furious UKIP row" The Sunday Telegraph 9 September 2005

Friday, October 7

Jeffrey 'Titters' Titford to the rescue!

Following the resignation of UKIP Party Chairwoman Petrina Holdsworth earlier this week, UKIP have been quick find a replacement.
Jeffrey Titford, Member of the European Parliament for Eastern England, will step back into the fold for an interim period sparing UKIP any embarrassment which would have been caused heading into the party conference this week end without a chairman.
UKIP leader, Roger Knapman who faced damning criticism from the ousted Holdsworth, welcomed Titford's appointment, by saying "I am very grateful to Jeffrey for agreeing to take on this task. He is a much-respected figure who has contributed a great deal to the Party over many years."
Meanwhile disgruntled party members are beginning to show their dissatisfaction with the UKIP leadership. Supporters of Holdsworth are unhappy with the way Knapman failed to stand up to deputy leader Mike Nattrass, who allegedly bullied Holdsworth out of the party.
Many are also frustrated by the fact that power within the party is being centralised around the 10 UKIP MEPs.
Six out of 14 National Executive Committee Members are now Euro MPs including the party leader, the deputy and the chairman. The 10 UKIP MEPs are also the Party's official spokespersons. The MEPs also directly employ 90% of UKIP staff including the regional officers, researchers and press officers leaving members in the UK with little say in the direction of the party.

Source: UKIP

Wednesday, October 5

UKIP leadership row overshaddows party conference

As UKIPwatch reported back in July, all is not well in the UKIP camp.

Yesterday Party chairwoman Petrina Holdsworth finally threw her towel in after months of in fighting and back biting.

The rumours first circulated last week that she had once again resigned, which were then followed by a swift press release from UKIP saying that she hadn’t. Today UKIP confirmed that this time Holdsworth's resignation is for keeps – or for as long as "the current regime" is in place.

The main reason for her resignation is UKIP leader Roger Knapman and his apparent refusal to stand by the terms of his agreement with Petrina, which brought her back into the fold after her original resignation on Friday. The deal had been that a letter of support from the UKIP MEPs – with the noteable exception of deputy leader Mike Nattrass – would be published on the UKIP website and that Nattrass would be fired.

Holdsworth did however accept that Nattrass could stay on until after the conference this weekend, to maintain the fa├žade of Party unity, but he would then be given the boot immediately afterwards.

However, it soon became clear that UKIP leader Knapman had no intention of honouring his part of the deal and in fact had passed word to Nattrass via an intermediary that his position was safe "contingent on his continued good behaviour". Nattrass's response was to fire off another abusive e-mail in the direction of the party chairman.

Holdsworth's response was to deliver an ultimatum which expired yesterday afternoon and, on failing to hear from Knapman, she again submitted her resignation, leaving UKIP without a chairman for its upcoming conference this week end.

With the Conservative Party conference in full-swing, and the Clarkeites pushing the idea that "Europe" is no longer an issue in the leadership, a crisis in UKIP is just what the Eurosceptics do not need.

UKIP, under the "leadership" of Knapman – himself a former Tory MP and whip –may have turned out to have dealt the cause a crippling blow, just at the time when it was most important to present a strong, united face to the public. It looks like the Tories may be getting ready to take on a few new recruits.

Source: UKIP, UKIP forum

UKIP Chairwoman quits after UKIP leadership spat

After months of speculation UKIP Chairwoman Petrina Holdsworth has finally thrown in the towel. In her letter to the UK Independence Party National Executive Committee, Holdsworth highlights the lack of respect from UKIP deputy Leader Mike Nattrass and lack of trust from UKIP Leader Roger Knapman as reason for turning her back on the faltering party. See the damning resignation letter below:

Dear NEC Member

I was approached by Roger Knapman to rescind my resignation as Chairman on the basis that Roger was willing to remove Nattrass from the Deputy Leadership for his recent behaviour.

I agreed to that.

Roger then told me that it would be very difficult to remove it forthwith as the conferences were so close in time with all the attendant publicity plus the fact that Nattrass was co-hosting the I&D Group Conference. I was left in no doubt however that it would be removed by Roger after the conferences.

I therefore agreed to that.

In the meantime he said that he would obtain a letter from the other MEPs apologising for Nattrass`s behaviour .He stated that the letter was to be put on our website.

(As you know the letter has been signed by the other MEPs and a copy circulated to the NEC members.)

In the meantime Nattrass had issued another intemperate email on the 2nd October at 10.48.I telephoned Roger about this who indicated that Nattrass would have to go forthwith as he had now "cut his own throat". I telephoned Roger later that day but he was unavailable.

I then spoke with Piers that evening (2nd of October) who had no knowledge of any further action having been taken by Roger and we agreed that a short holding statement should be put on the web.

We agreed that the next day the MEPs letter would be put on the web,or at least a reference to the MEP's letter would be added to the statement. I sent two emails later that evening pointing out that there was no reference to Nattrass in the letter, which was not acceptable, and amongst other things I drew Roger's attention to the fact that the question of the removal of Nattrass's Deputy Leadership seemed to be slipping still further as Graham Booth had rung me that evening to say that Roger would simply be informing Nattrass that his Deputy Leadership was now dependant on his future good conduct.

I went to London on the 3rd of October. On my return in the afternoon I noted that the MEPs' letter was still not on the website contrary to my agreement with Roger and Piers.In deed nothing had been added to the short holding statement.

I emailed a copy of the letter to Stuart Gulleford and asked him to have a word with Piers out of courtesy before putting it on the website.

That evening I spoke to Stuart to ask why it was still not on the website. He told me that orders had come "from the top" to stop it going up.

I rang Roger and we had our first acrimonious exchange.

He refused to allow the letter on the website. He indicated that he did not want to remove Nattrass's Deputy Leadership. I pointed out that I felt Roger had not kept to his word on either topic and that I felt betrayed.

By the end of the evening it had been agreed that the question of the Deputy Leadership would be dealt with at the next meeting of the NEC. Roger said that Nigel (Farage) had agreed to raise the topic. I agreed to that as a final position although I viewed it as a weak option.

I hope that Nigel will not mind me adding that he was sympathetic to the position which I found myself in.

I asked Roger to put our latest agreement in writing to me as I was fed up with him changing the position so arbitrarily and frequently. He agreed and said that Piers would send me an email confirming the position this morning. No email has been forthcoming.

I have formed the view that I am no longer prepared to work under these unacceptable circumstances.

I now strongly suspect that nothing will be done re the Deputy Leadership as Roger has shown that he is not prepared to act decisively and to publicly support his chairman. I only wish he had been clear with me in the first place and then he would not have put the party in this mess.

I am left with no alternative in my view but to resign yet again as Chairman of the Party and from the NEC in order to preserve my own integrity and self respect. This time there can be no coming back under the present regime.

I thank the huge amount of people who have contacted me over the last few days to welcome me back but I cannot continue to act with the "rug being pulled from under my feet" repeatedly.

I regret that I will not be attending the conferences this weekend.

Yours sincerely,
Petrina Holdsworth

Source: UKIP forum

Monday, October 3

UKIP celebrate as EU flag is lowered

The UK Independence Party, whose aim is to 'bring the European Parliament down from the inside,' claimed a hollow victory this week.
The Party which is demanding Britain's withdrawal from the EU, were toasting yesterday as UKIP made their one and only notable achievement since being elected to the European Parliament.
Under UK law, all flags - except national ones - are treated as advertising material. With this in mind, UKIP made a formal complaint to Westminster Council to remove the EU flag on the European Parliament's offices in London, which Westminster Council has confirmed as there illegally.
This followed a similar retreat by Wear Valley council in the North-East, which had been proudly flying the blue and gold "ring of stars" outside its offices, to honour the fact that its leader, Olive Brown, is a member of the EU's Committee of the Regions.
Local resident, Jim Tague, pointed out to the council that, under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulation 1992, the EU flag is classified as "an outdoor advertisement" and requires planning permission. Wear Valley was therefore forced to remove the flag.
Nevertheless it seems that UKIP's victory will be short lived. Planning inspectors will visit Westminster this week, and are likely to suggest that the European Parliament apply for retrospective consent to fly the flag
If this goes ahead UKIP say they will object. "This is a historic conservation area linked to the British government. As such, this flag sends out an inappropriate message to the public,"
"The general public should be protected from this sort of false advertising promoting worthless tat," said UKIP's MEP Nigel Farage. "This is the most important victory for consumer power in decades."

Source: The Sunday Times October 2nd