U-kippers will be crying into their coffee following the news that Bob Spink will not be leading the UKIP charge at the next general election.
Spink, who (apparently) defected to UKIP from the Conservatives last March, told the House of Commons last week that “I belong to no party. I am an independent” and asserts in his local paper that he has never been a member of UKIP (although he does admit to supporting their stance on EU withdrawal). In his words, “I never formally joined UKIP and do not intend to do so”.
This came as news to UKIP spinner Tim Worstall who claimed that Spink was a party member, but conceded that “He has been issued a membership card, but he’s never actually paid for membership.” Unbelievable. UKIP have fewer than 15,000 members and a couple of parliamentarians. They must have known that Spink wasn’t actually a party member. UKIPwatch has said it before, but this kind of farce could only happen to UKIP.
No doubt the news will also come as a nasty shock to Nigel Farage, who welcomed Spink with open arms last year, and expressed that he was “delighted to welcome the hard working and deeply principled Bob Spink as our first Member of Parliament”. Oh dear, not quite so “principled” now is he Nigel?
As a side-note, UKIP don’t seem to have recognised the news – Spink still appears on their website as a UKIP MP. UKIPwatch will let you know when they finally get round to changing this.
Spink has also committed another volte face. Last year he said that he was looking forward to support from UKIP activists to help his doomed battle to keep his Castle Point seat. Having now recognised that this would kybosh any remaining chance of him even losing with dignity, Spink now says that he would not accept any activists’ help or financial support from UKIP. A wise move, Bob, but your career’s finished whatever you do.
Perhaps Tim Worstall or Gawain Towler could confirm that Lord Pearson and Lord Willoughby de Broke, UKIP peers in the House of Lords, are actual Party members and are not ‘considered’ to be members just because they think Britain should withdraw from the EU. Come to think of it, if UKIP are going to go around claiming people as party members because they are anti-EU why haven’t they claimed the Wintertons, Bill Cash and Richard Shepherd as members?