On Saturday night, UKIP Isle of Wight held an Extraordinary General Meeting to decide whether or not to run a candidate against standing Conservative MP Andrew Turner. The results were as follows: Stand Aside – 1; Not to Stand Aside – 106; abstentions – 2.
The branch decided to hold the vote following comments made by UKIP leader Nigel Farage, on September 30th in the Times, that UKIP Parliamentary candidates could stand aside to make way for Eurosceptic Conservatives in 2015, although he added that this was a matter for the local branches. The Committee of the Isle of Wight branch felt that, as sitting Conservative MP Andrew Turner was considered Eurosceptic, this could lead to confusion amongst members and the electorate in general and so called an EGM to debate the matter.
UKIP PPC Iain McKie made the case that the EU referendum pledge made by David Cameron would not, and could not be honoured. He added that the Conservatives had a track record of breaking promises, and certainly could not be trusted to deliver on that issue. Iain also highlighted the 40 Coalition U-Turns and the 300 tax rises since 2010. He made the claim that with rocketing Government spending and debt levels reaching £1.4 trillion that, regardless of the referendum issue, the Conservatives were not fit to be in power. Iain ended by highlighting local issues over education, health, employment and development, and concluded that Andrew Turner had failed the Isle of Wight since 2001.
After an hour or so minutes of questions and discussion, the matter was put to the vote. Only one member voted in favour of Iain standing aside in 2015, 2 abstained and 106 insisted that Iain stand in 2015.
The EGM was closed after Iain thanked the members and stated that the party had sent a clear message: Andrew Turner has a fight on his hands, a fight that Iain is determined to win.