The NEC allowing Anne Marie Waters to stand for Party Leadership reputedly put Crowther’s and Oakden’s nose considerably out of joint. For a while, a rumour was circulating that they would find a way at the last minute to spring up a reason to remove her as a candidate, citing an “emergency” or a “legal” reason, bypassing the NEC.
It has not happened this way. Instead, on Friday (25th August) we learned that Henry Bolton launched a legal challenge to Anne Marie Waters’ candidacy and that the NEC are having a vote at 2pm today, Saturday 26th August, on whether to keep her on the ballot paper or not, because ballot papers have to be printed in the next two days in order to be mailed to us on 1 September.
This kind of a last minute blitzkrieg, giving the NEC no time think or obtain legal advice, is how someone always used to manipulate and bypass the NEC when I was on it – and this someone isn’t Henry Bolton.
Let’s call this man Colonel Sanders and his way of doing things the Kentucky Fried Chicken gambit. So was this plan really hatched up by Henry Bolton or has he been set up? Is this a way to kill two birds (Henry Bolton and Anne Marie Waters) with one stone and open the path to Leadership to Colonel Sanders’ anointed candidate, because the anointed has promised to keep on Colonel Sanders’ flying monkey? You can whittle the candidate list down to one for yourselves to figure out who the anointed candidate is.
Readers of this august website will know that I am no supporter of Anne Marie Waters and that I don’t think she “shares the objectives and core beliefs of the Party” (cf. Article 4.1.1 of the Party Constitution – “Eligibility” for Party Membership), these being beliefs in libertarianism, small government, low taxes, etc. – but I think the same considerations apply to Peter Whittle, Suzanne Evans, Patrick O’Flynn, and a few others too.
But the Party has ruled (even though, I believe, wrongly) that she is eligible to be a member of the Party and we have taken her money — both her membership fee and her deposit, and the membership fee of her supporters. So, on what grounds should her rights as a Party member and those of her supporters be curtailed — her right to stand and their right to vote for her?
Allegedly, the grounds are that she is not a member in good standing because she was banned from standing as a GE candidate.
Does this stack up legally? Allegedly, the challenge is on the grounds of Rules I.8 and O.5 of the Party Rulebook.
AA.4.1 […] If the complaint is upheld, the Disciplinary Panel shall decide what action is to be taken and may:
e) Suspend the Respondent Member from elected party office and/or candidature for a specified period;
R: Rights and responsibilities of candidates
R.5 In the event of serious misconduct by a candidate, the Party Chairman shall have the right to suspend a candidate for up to 7 days pending a decision from the National Executive Committee.
V: Rules governing the selection procedure for UKIP candidates for Assembly elections conducted under a PR- based Party list system (London, Scotland, Wales)
V.5.2 The National Executive Committee may suspend or remove any candidate from the list at any time if it believes that such a decision is in the Party’s interests. It may do without stating a reason and its decision will be final. Any candidate removed from the list in such a way shall have their £250 deposit reimbursed.
S: Candidate Selection Rules for General Elections and Westminster by-elections
S.6 The Party reserves the right to reject any applicant without giving a reason at any stage. Any candidate so rejected will have a right of appeal to the NEC.
Under what rule under the Party Constitution or under what rule in the Party Rulebook delegated under Article 6.2(g) of the Party Constitution did the NEC ban Anne Marie Waters from being our candidate in 2017 for the Westminster Parliament?
It was not under the disciplinary process, hence it was not under Section 11 of the Party Constitution or under Section AA of the Party Rulebook.
It was not due to AMW’s serious misconduct, so it was not under Section R of the Party Rulebook.
It was not an Assembly election, thus it was not under Section V of the Party Rulebook.
It may have been under Section 12 of the Party Constitution or under Section S of the Party Rulebook.
The wording of these sections is very clear in that such suspension clearly relates only to the single election in question — as differing from the language of the disciplinary sections which talk of suspending a candidate for specified periods, or, e.g. Article R.5, which talks of suspending a candidate for up to 7 days.
Therefore, it does not appear that Anne Marie Waters is currently suspended from being a candidate in any election, so I cannot see on what grounds she could be deemed to be not a member in good standing.
If the NEC decides to remove Anne Marie Waters from the ballot paper, I think she has good grounds to sue but more importantly, I would hope that the following happen:
a) I believe Anne Marie Waters should be on the ballot paper. I do not believe this because I am her supporter. I believe this because I believe the Party Constitution mandates it and because I hope UKIP can once again be a party which believes in the rule of law, rather than the banana republic which Colonel Sanders and his monkey have turned it into. I hope the libertarian candidates can win the intellectual argument and win the leadership election over the anti-Islamic agenda. I would find it very hard to remain a member of the Party if a libertarian candidate does not win, but equally so if the Party will not follow its own rules.
b) If Anne Marie Waters is not on the ballot paper, and you want to show the establishment what you think about this, take it out not on the fall guy but refuse to vote for the anointed one instead. The natural reaction would be to give the vote you would have given to Anne Marie Waters to another anti-Islamic candidate. This would be foolish and would play right into the establishment’s hands. Resist the urge to do that!