Monday, 11 May 2015

All UKIP Roads Lead to Nigel

Following the recent resignation and subsequent unresignation of Nigel Farage, UKIP can no longer claim it is not a one person party. It is all about Nigel Farage.
Before the General Election Nigel Farage announced he would stand down as leader of UKIP if he lost South Thanet.  To his partial credit this is what he did very publicly soon after the election result. Even then he left some wriggle room by announcing he may put himself forward as a candidate. This alone was not an honourable course of action no matter how much he tried to exaggerate that part of his speech where he confirmed he was a man of his word. What followed was nothing more than a fudge to reinstall Nigel Farage as leader come what may. The practical reasons for this are clear. Since his announcement that he'll resign as leader the party membership must have been seriously concerned that this would spell the end of their party and Nigel, too, must have realised this very quickly. The news breaking today that the UKIP NEC "did not accept his resignation" shows very clearly that this has been a well rehearsed route to keep Nigel Farage as leader. The claim by the UKIP NEC that there was "overwhelming evidence that members did not want Nigel to go" maybe true but that does not make them relevant. The UKIP constitution (Link to The UKIP Constitution)  has no power to refuse a resignation. Farage has the right to resign and and only he has the right to rescind. Indeed it gives very clear steps on how to hold a leadership contest after a leader resigns. An extract of the relevant piece reads;

7.7          A Party Leader shall communicate his decision to resign in writing to the Party Chairman, who must then summon an emergency meeting of the NEC within 28 days.

7.8          If there is only one valid nomination for the post of Party Leader the candidate so nominated shall be declared elected as Party Leader without the need for a ballot. Any contested election for the leadership shall be decided by a simple majority of the votes cast. Those eligible to vote shall be members “in good standing” of the Party on the date when the election is called, subject always to the restrictions on voting set out in the final paragraph of Article 4.1.2 above.

7.9          When a vacancy in the leadership occurs due to the Party Leader's death, incapacity, resignation or removal following a vote of no confidence, the procedure for a leadership election shall be initiated by the Party Secretary. 

To repeat, the UKIP constitution gives no power to the UKIP National Executive Committee to refuse a resignation. The decision to carry on as leader is Farage's and his alone. As if in ancient times all UKIP roads lead to Nigel.

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