The following two letters address not just the problem of Nathan Gill, UKIP Wales, resigning from the UKIP Group in the Welsh Assembly. They also show how members have to get their information from the media – Nathan Gill has to date not informed the Welsh UKIP members – while at the same time there is no existing vehicle for factual information from the NEC reaching the grassroots.
The first letter is from our reader, Deirdre Trotman:
Last night’s lead story in Wales was Nathan Gill’s resignation from the UKIP group in the Welsh Assembly. He will apparently continue as leader of Welsh UKIP and sit in the Assembly as an Independent.
I don’t blame Nathan, who has been in Welsh UKIP since 2004 and who, as Leader, achieved a monumental and historic breakthrough in Wales. Since that breakthrough, he has to my mind shamefully had his leadership usurped, and then been undermined by a campaign from other Assembly members because he was also an MEP. Nathan himself gave an entirely reasonable explanation as to why he would continue as an MEP, in that there were procedural problems if he resigned which could result in costing the party money, and he would be able to provide a bridge from Europe to the other UKIP Assembly members.
That did not stop the other Assembly members from continuing to denigrate him, to the point tonight when the elected Leader of the UKIP group in the Assembly, Neil Hamilton, said on Welsh News that Nathan’s resignation would make no difference to other UKIP assembly members.
In short, UKIP Wales, having finally achieved seats in the Welsh Government, have thrown away the opportunity of a lifetime by failing to unite under the leader they had, in favour of one elected by the other AMs. I am not sure how happy party members were about this, the Leadership hustings tonight showed a half empty hall in Newport on the Welsh news.
It appears to me that even if UKIP unites under an elected leader at conference, Wales will still be divided unless Nathan steps down altogether, which I wouldn’t want, and I would be surprised if other members would be happy if his hand had been forced either. But surely it would be expecting too much of a new Leader to be able to sort this out in any way that will lead to a satisfactory conclusion without more infighting, and bad publicity. What can be done?
Regards, Deirdre Trotman
We had received a previous letter regarding Nathan Gill from Dr Tomasz Slivnik NEC, which was kept back due to the storm brewing across the whole Party regarding Steven Woolfe. We now post that letter below, which was sent to us before August 8th:
On 31 July 2016, the NEC resolved to expel Nathan Gill MEP from the party membership effective Sunday 7 August 2016 unless he either resigns as an AM or as an MEP during the intervening period. This is the culmination of a negotiation between the NEC and Nathan which has been ongoing for several months.
In February 2016, the NEC decided to refer the selection of AM candidates to our members in Wales. Every member who wished to be our candidate for an AM had to prepare a manifesto. In a document entitled “UKIP WALES ELECTION CANDIDATES 2016″ dated 16 February 2016, Nathan made a manifesto commitment to our members in Wales: “I will resign as an MEP to work in the Assembly and Wales where we will play a crucial role in ensuring that the people of Wales vote to leave the EU in the upcoming Referendum on our EU membership”. Making this commitment was a pre-condition of the NEC allowing Nathan to stand in this internal election and be a UKIP candidate for an AM seat. David Coburn, our MEP in Scotland, was likewise required to make a similar undertaking in order to be able to stand as an MSP. We should emphasize that Nigel himself also personally insisted on this undertaking at the time.
It is a policy of our party that no member shall hold two simultaneous full time jobs as a member of two different parliaments simultaneously. This is why all sitting members of one parliament are required to make the undertaking to stand down from their current elected position if elected to another parliament, before being permitted to stand for such a second parliament. We as a party take the view that each such position alone is more than a full time job and that it is not possible to do two such jobs simultaneously. We also take the view that one person receiving two salaries, two pension packages, two expense accounts and two staff budgets is not right on the taxpayer (in some cases one of the salaries is reduced if a member is in receipt of two, but all the rest applies without qualification). Nathan is currently the only member of our Party to hold two full time jobs as a member of two different parliaments simultaneously in this way.The NEC invited Nathan on several occasions to honour his commitment with no avail. Immediately upon getting elected an AM in May, Nathan reneged on his manifesto commitment but promised to step down as an MEP immediately after the Brexit referendum was over. After the Brexit referendum, Nathan further reneged even on this second promise. On 6 July, the NEC wrote to Nathan, giving him 7 days to step down as an MEP, or face action. Nathan ignored our letter, until he was contacted again on 22 July, at which point he informed us that he had no intention of stepping down, citing as one of his reasons the fact that neither of two of his fellow AMs were, post-Brexit, willing to take his seat in Brussels.
On 31 July 2016, the NEC therefore wrote to Nathan asking him to step down as an AM or as an MEP, failing which his expulsion as a member of the party would become automatic on 7 August 2016. We hoped Nathan would keep his word and that such drastic action would not have been required.”
Today, 18th August, Dr Slivnik added the following letter to his previous one (see above):
Nathan’s expulsion from the Party became effective on 8 August. A few days later he reapplied for membership and was readmitted to the Party under Article 4.4.1 of the Constitution. I will leave it to someone else to explain the rationale for that decision, should they feel they want to. He is now again a member of UKIP, but all his internal offices (such as Leader in Wales) in the Party terminated with his expulsion and have not been restored.
Regards, Dr Tomasz Slivnik
Do we adhere to our rules, or do we allow certain members to get away unscathed when disregarding them? You be the judge …