To all members of the NEC:
I wrote yesterday to over 350 UKIP members [Ed: see the copy of the email below] whose email addresses are publicly available from UKIP websites; they are therefore predominantly branch officers from up and down the country. In my opinion they represent the beating heart of UKIP at grassroots level.
I asked them if they would like to see Gerard’s period as Interim Leader extended to six months (180 days) in order to give the party stability and space for healing after the turmoil of the past couple of months, and also to avoid the draining and divisive distraction of a leadership election during the run up to the May elections.
The answer so far has been overwhelmingly ‘Yes’, some even arguing for 12 months.
In view of this, I propose two alternatives for you to consider, both of which seem to be legal and sensible:
- To extend Gerard’s period of Interim Leader to six months (180 days) without involving the necessity of a leadership election, Gerard should be asked to resign at the end of each month of the first three month (90 day) period, whereupon the NEC would immediately reappoint him for the ensuing three months – a sort of rolling appointment. This would postpone firing the starting gun on a leadership election. At the end of the first three months (90 days), he would again resign for the last time and again be reappointed for three months (90 days). The leadership election could then take place at the end of this final three month (90 day) period (roughly early September).
- Alternatively and less attractively, we should go ahead with the leadership election in May immediately after the local elections but try to restrict the candidates to just Gerard by using the good offices of experienced party elder statesman and former party leader, Lord (Malcolm) Pearson of Rannoch. If Gerard agreed that, if elected as Leader in May, he would only stay until the end of the year and then resign, Lord Pearson and his office may be able to persuade those individuals who intend to stand to postpone their ambitions until a new a leadership election in, probably, early January for the good of the party. The leadership election in May would then be non-divisive, non-disruptive low-cost simple affair with the almost guaranteed outcome of Gerard continuing as leader until the end of December/early January.
I would be grateful if you would respond to the grassroots and consider these alternatives.
With best wishes, Alan Craig
Ed: this is the text of the email Alan Craig mentions in his letter to the NEC above. It was first published on Kipper Central :
Dear UKIP colleague,
The party has just been through two months of hell and is now in need of both stability and time for healing.
This week the leader of the UKIP group on the London Assembly, Peter Whittle, suggested on Twitter that it would be insane to go through another leadership contest with the May elections on the horizon, and proposed that the Interim Leader, Gerard Batten, should be appointed for an extended period of 6 months (180 days).
Some responded online with a heartfelt “Yes, let’s do it.”
Others said it is constitutionally impossible. Gerard has just 90 days. Full stop.
A few – not, it seems, friends of UKIP – said with glee that UKIP is dead and who cares?
Personally, I reckon that where there’s a will there’s a way. And where there’s goodwill, there’s a good way out of the current difficulties. So I’d be grateful for your views and suggestions about extending the Interim Leader’s term.
Please note: I do not represent Gerard, nor the NEC, nor Peter Whittle. I am just a normal UKIP member who, like most, is committed to seeing the party grow, thrive and stop in its tracks the Tory betrayal over Brexit.
I look forward to hearing from you.
With warm best wishes, Alan Craig