At emergency meetings of all six county branches of UKIP Gloucestershire in Gloucester and in the Cotswolds this evening (Thursday 25th April) senior UKIP officials in Gloucestershire expressed their grave concerns about the adoption of YouTuber Carl Benjamin, also known as Sargon of Akkad, as one of UKIP’s two lead candidates for the South West region, which includes Gloucestershire, in the forthcoming EU Parliamentary Elections should these be held on Thursday 23rd May.

Mr Benjamin, who joined UKIP only in December 2018, is known for having courted controversy with his social media history, included a rape tweet to Labour MP Jess Phillips which UKIP Leader Gerard Batten has dismissed as mere “satire”.

Commented Richard Ford, who sits on UKIP’s ruling National Executive Committee and is South West Regional Chairman as well as being the Chairman of UKIP Gloucester and the city’s UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate :

“Many of us here in Gloucestershire have been growing increasingly concerned and uneasy for some time at the direction in which Gerard Batten is moving the party. Things first came to a head last December in a motion of no confidence at the party’s NEC over Mr Batten’s increasing association of both himself and the party with the EDL founder Tommy Robinson. This was after Mr Batten had defied the express will of the NEC to distance itself and UKIP from this association.

Now Mr Batten seems to have gone one stage further and promoted and endorsed the adoption of controversial YouTuber Carl Benjamin, Sargon of Akkad as one of the party’s lead candidates for the South West region in the forthcoming EU Parliamentary Elections, which are currently scheduled to take place on Thursday 23rd May.

All that these associations have done is to distract UKIP’s focus and attention away from Brexit at a key time for our country, when the Conservative government under Theresa May’s failing and chaotic leadership is just not delivering the result of the Referendum at which people voted nearly three years ago, and the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn is not offering any real alternative .

We need to focus urgently on the Brexit which the British people and the people of Gloucestershire voted for nearly three years ago, and therefore I am writing to inform the Party Chairman that I am resigning from all my UKIP offices with immediate effect.  I believe The Brexit Party now offers the only realistic hope of achieving the exit from the European Union for which a majority of the British people voted in 2016 .”

Christina Simmonds, the UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Cheltenham, who was also UKIP’s Parliamentary Candidate in Cheltenham in the 2015 General Election said :

“I have been unhappy for a while that the UKIP leaders have shifted their focus from ensuring the delivery of a meaningful Brexit, by debating the issues, to obsessing about personalities. UKIP had clear membership rules, which it seems are ignored when they appear to be inconvenient, or out of line with what the leadership wants to do (ironically rather like the EU itself). In these circumstances, therefore, I and many of my senior colleagues, as well as rank and file members of UKIP here in Gloucestershire, are left with little alternative but to resign from UKIP with immediate effect .”

In addition to Mrs Simmonds and Mr Ford, UKIP’s Gloucestershire County Chairman and Stroud Chairman Stuart Love, Cotswolds Chairman and 2015 and 2017 Parliamentary Candidate Chris Harlow and Forest of Dean Chairman Averil Summers will also be tendering their resignations, as will many other County branch officials.

These resignations will mean that all six UKIP Gloucestershire Branch Chairmen, and all three currently adopted Prospective Parliamentary candidates, as well as the County Chairman and South West Regional Chairman,  have now resigned.

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Open Letter
Dear Gerard:

We have known ourselves since the inaugural Surrey meeting in 1984.
Since then, I have done websites for you, door knocked for you, and served with you on the NEC. I also backed you against Henry Bolton.
Now that Tommy Robinson has formally declared he is standing against us, I urge you to, formally and officially, pursuant to the spirit of 4.3.d of the constitution, sever all poltical links with him.
Failure to do this will result in an increased likelihood of my voting “Brexit Party” in the forthcoming Euros.
This is also in part due to the contempt family members hold for Tommy, and my desire not to break from them.
In sadness,
Rob McWhirter 😢

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