THE CRACKS ARE beginning to widen as UKIP enters yet another leadership contest. The Party did very badly in the General Election – leading to the resignation of the then Leader Paul Nuttal. The process of finding his successor may lead to yet another downturn in its fortunes.
There are eleven candidates in the leadership contest – the most controversial of whom is Anne Marie Waters, who has mounted a personal crusade against Islam, which she has described as a backward religion with unacceptable practices.
With no representation in the UK Parliament and shrinking representation in local government (the party has 438 councillors in mainstream local government – even the Lib-Dems have over four times that number), UKIP’s main focus is, ironically, on the EU.
UKIP’s Chief Whip in the EU is Stuart Agnew. He has expressed his support for Anne Marie Waters. The Party’s Deputy Whip was Mike Hookem, who has resigned his post in protest at Stuart Agnew’s choice. Hookem has viewed Waters as an extremist for some time and doesn’t want to be associated with her brand of politics. He doesn’t see that turning to the far right is how UKIP should be building its future.
Other Kippers who want the Party to reject Waters and her views include MEP Nathan Gill (who has threatened to resign from UKIP if Waters becomes Leader) and
former Leaders Paul Nuttal and Nigel Farage. UKIP members will choose their new Leader in a postal ballot of all members, with the winner being announced at UKIP’s party conference at the end of September.