18 out of 20 UKIP MEPs including Farage may quit party if anti-Islam candidate becomes leader https://t.co/leXWRualA7?
— Jonathan Walker (@jonwalker121) July 3, 2017
For the second time since 2015 a British party might have fallen victim to entryism.
Today it was reported that
Ukip MEPs are preparing a mass walkout if an anti-Islam leadership candidate backed by Tommy Robinson is given a senior position at the top of the party.
Officials are panicking that a wave of far-right activists have infiltrated the party in order to vote for the controversial Anne Marie Waters, with one source describing them as the “Brownshirts’ Momentum” – a reference to Adolf Hitler’s militia during his rise to power.
Waters, who founded the Sharia Watch pressure group, has described Islam as “evil” and a “killing machine”, and teamed up with ex- EDL leader Tommy Robinson to form the anti-Islam group Pegida UK.
Ukip banned her from standing for the party in June’s General Election – but did not kick her out.
Several Ukip sources claim Waters has done a deal with leadership front-runner Peter Whittle to become deputy leader if he is victorious in the race.
HuffPost UK has learnt senior party figures will be holding “informal talks” in Strasbourg this week to discuss what to do if Waters wins the leadership contest or is handed the position of deputy leader.
One source believes 18 of the 20 MEPs could quit the party – including Nigel Farage.
Speaking to HuffPost UK, one MEP said mass resignations “would be an inevitable consequence” of her winning the leadership or being made deputy leader.
Another MEP said: “I think every MEP would quit apart from Stuart Agnew and perhaps Gerard Batten.”
Bill Etheridge, the West Midlands MEP who came third in the first of Ukip’s leadership elections last year, said he would “immediately resign” if Waters becomes leader.
“I am appalled that she is even allowed in the party. There’s been a failure of the management of the party in allowing her to be involved in the race.”
Whilst the Guardian have a UKIP source saying “It’s possible that in a multi-horse race without a favourite, an election would be won with 5,000 votes. So 1,000 new members in just two weeks is potentially a fair way towards distorting the result.” I’m fairly certain UKIP now wish they used AV to elect their leaders and not first past the post, AV is one of the best options in stopping an extreme candidate winning in circumstances like this.
At the time of writing you can get 4/1 and 2/1 on Waters and Whittle respectively to win the UKIP leadership, I’m keeping out of this market.
One final point, I wonder what first attracted the ‘Brownshirts Momentum’ to UKIP?