Dear Henry,

As you know I enthusiastically campaigned for you to become leader. I believed at the time that you had the right skill set to sort out the problems the Party faced at that time.

I was, like many others frustrated by the seeming lack of progress in the first few months of your tenure as leader; not least of which was your failure to ditch Lenny the Lion. You have failed to comprehend the profound implications of pushing ahead with such an unpopular logo. At the time members were frustrated that UKIP had become seemingly invisible since the Brexit referendum and now as we approach local elections you thought it a good idea for the Party to fight those elections in disguise. You assured me something was being done and I sought to allay the fears of your increasing number of detractors and asked them to give you time.

Even when the NEC first proposed the motion of censure against you, as you know I rang to offer my advice on the best way of handling it. I pointed out that many of the things that concern people pre-dated your election as leader. The total lack of preparation for the 2017 local elections; I had people call me from around the country seeking some direction having received none from the central Party.  Similarly, the failure to rapidly appoint candidates when the snap General election was called such that we didn’t have candidates for many of the seats, in my own case it took a full three weeks out of the seven for me to be appointed a candidate and such was the chaos that I was banned from attending my own branch hustings by the chairman of the Party. Most recent has been the lack of preparation for this year’s local elections, and whilst the Elections Committee has indeed met once, before Christmas it has not met since and that first meeting can only be described as chaos with no clear plan or strategy. Even when all those present raised concerns about the logo the committee chairman told us he had been told we could not discuss it. We were more in readiness to fight elections 20 years ago than we are today.

As I told you then, most people, although they didn’t necessarily approve of the decisions you had made regarding your private life, they were not that bothered by them but more it was a build-up of frustration because of ongoing failures within UKIP, most from people in position before you were leader but still there to this day. My concern was for the disastrous impact and EGM would have on these Local Elections and that if we lose the councillors we have in London we will NEVER win them back.

You are right that the attack on you may be unjust and unfair, well, “welcome to UKIP!” In 2013 I was told I had been gerrymandered out of a position on the MEP list. Having sought legal advice, I was told to report it to the police as there was evidence to suggest the process may have been fraudulent. I chose not to do so in the end because of the damage it may have done to the Party.  The Party and the cause of leaving the EU being more important than my own grievances.

However, as things have unfurled since the NEC first proposed their motion of censure and the subsequent vote of no confidence it has become clear that the one skill that is vital to be Party Leader you lack completely and that is Political Acumen.

How you have handled the issues around your private life has made you, and consequently the Party, into a laughing stock. Initially, you said the ‘romantic’ side of your relationship was over, to many that simply meant you were going to save yourself a few quid on chocolates and flowers, no more wining and dining just straight down to business. This was then followed by further interviews when you have been unequivocally obscure on the status of said relationship.

For the sake of the Party and all those hard-working councillors who face re-election this year, I urge you to stand down now. I believe that the sentiment amongst the membership is such that you will not win the vote at the EGM, and this sorry saga will rumble on. Put the Party first and go now so that we can focus on the elections in May.

Yours sincerely,

Cllr Lawrence Webb
UKIP Group Leader on Havering Council.
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