UKIP – A BRIEF HISTORY
UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party) was founded in 1993 by a group in the Anti-Federalist League, opposed to the Conservative government’s signing of the Maastricht Treaty, commiting the UK to economic and monetary union within the EU. Nigel Farage was a founder member and was the party’s leader from 2005 to 2016 (with a brief interval in 2010).
The party’s current Leader (Interim)is Gerard Batten MEP.
Membership: From 2010 to 2015, UKIP membership rose from 12,000 to 40,000, at a time of declining party memberships generally. Current membership is approximately 30,000. The party has branches in each Dorset Parliamentary constituency.
Euro-Elections: The party gained its first MEP’s (3) in 1999. In 2004, 11 UKIP MEP’s were elected, increasing their number to 13 in 2009, when the party finished second in the UK vote overall. In the May 2014 euro-elections, UKIP came first in the UK, with nearly four and a half million votes gaining 24 MEP’s. The party also gained its first MEP in Scotland. In Dorset, UKIP came first with a 38.5% share of the vote.
South-West Region: UKIP’s MEP’s are: William Dartmouth (since 2004) and Dr Julia Reid (since 2014).
UK General Elections: 1997: UKIP contests its first General Election gaining approximately 100,000 votes (1.0%). 2001: UKIP gains approximately 390,000 votes, (2.3%). 2005: UKIP gains approximately 600,000 votes (3.1%). 2010: UKIP gains 920,000 votes (3.8%). 99 UKIP candidates save their deposits.
2013: UKIP is second in the Barnsley, Rotherham, Middlesbrough, South Shields by-elections, and almost wins Eastleigh with 28.5% of the vote.
2014: UKIP gains its first elected MP’s (Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless), winning by-elections in Clacton and Rochester & Strood.
General Election, May 2015: UKIP wins approx. 3.9 million votes (13%) – the third biggest party nationally, and holds Douglas Carswell’s seat in Clacton. UKIP gains 120 second places (including 4 of the 8 Dorset constituencies) and finishes in the top three in 477 out of 574 constituencies in England and Wales.
EU Referendum, June 2016: Because of the large UKIP vote in the May 2015 General Election, David Cameron is forced to concede an In/Out referendum on Britain’s EU membership. UKIP is the only major political party to support ‘Leave’. UKIP branches across Britain provide vital support for the ‘Leave’ campaign on the ground, ensuring that the overwhelming advantages of the government propaganda machine are cancelled out by concerted grassroots action from ordinary citizens.
In spite of the odds stacked against it, ‘Leave’ wins the referendum with 52% of the vote. The 17.4 million ‘Leave’; voters is the largest single political vote in UK history. 73% of the polling areas in England and Wales vote for ‘Leave’. Based on parliamentary constituencies, ‘Leave’ would have won 421 out of 650 seats.
Local Council Elections:
May 2013: In County Council Elections, UKIP wins 25% of the vote nationally, gaining 147 County Council seats, including Ferndown. In Dorset, UKIP candidates achieve 22 second places in 40 wards.
May 2014: In Metropolitan Council elections, UKIP gains 163 new Councillors.
May 2015: In Local Council elections UKIP wins seats in Poole (Alderney), Bournemouth (Kinson South), Christchurch (Grange) and Weymouth & Portland (Melcombe Regis), taking the total of UKIP Councillors nationally to over 500.
May 2016: In Local Council elections, UKIP wins 58 Council seats, including 26 gains. UKIP also wins its first seats on the Welsh Assembly (7 members) and London Assembly (2 members).
Troubled Times …… After the historic ‘Leave’ vote on 23rd June 2016, there was a widespread sense that UKIP had ‘done its job’. Many voters felt free to return to their historic party allegiances, lured by Labour and Conservative promises to respect the referendum result. After Nigel Farage stepped down as leader, the party was dogged by instability and infighting at the top, which short-term leaders Diane James and Paul Nuttall were unable to quell.
In the May 2017 Local Elections, the party lost all but one of its gains in the May 2013 elections. However the party still retains nearly 500 Councillors in local government nationally. This was the forerunner to a poor performance in the June 2017 General Election, which being a ‘snap’ election, took everyone by surprise and put the smaller parties at a severe disadvantage. Faced with the most unfavourable of circumstances, UKIP fielded 376 candidates polling 589,000 votes, an average of 1,635 per candidate (3.25% average). UKIP’s vote was about one quarter of its 2015 GE result, but was roughly the same as in the 2010 General Election, before the pre-referendum ‘surge’. UKIP was the third party in 124 of 376 seats it contested. The party’s decision not to stand in key marginal seats probably saved the Conservatives from losing at least another 10 – 12 ‘Leave’ MPs, in which case Mrs May wouldn’t have had a government.
After the disappointing election results, Paul Nuttall stood down as party leader. The subsequent leadership election was won by Henry Bolton OBE, a former army officer. Following revelations in the press about Henry Bolton’s personal conduct, the party’s NEC passed a unanimous vote of No Confidence in his leadership. On 17th February 2018, this was endorsed by 63% of the party’s members at an Extraordinary General Meeting held in Birmingham and Henry Bolton was removed as Leader.
The party’s Interim Leader is Gerard Batten MEP, for the next 3 months until new leadership elections are held. Gerard is a founder member of UKIP, and is the party’s Brexit Spokesman.
The Fight Back Begins …. UKIP’s 2017 vote does not accurately reflect the true extent of its support. Three quarters of voters want Britain to leave the EU and if this is not delivered in full at Westminster in the next two years, many voters will return to UKIP. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour party has now reneged on its pledge to respect the referendum result, while Mrs May’s Conservatives appear to lack the belief, the unity, and the strength of character to deliver what 17.4 million British voters voted for. UKIP is the only party which believes in fully leaving the EU, and is the only party with the will to carry it out.
If and when Britain is finally disentangled from the EU, our country will still have major long-term economic, financial and social problems. None of the Westminster ‘legacy’ parties seem to have any idea of how to solve them. All appear to think that ever bigger government, more state borrowing and more legislation is the answer. As Britain’s national debt heads inexorably towards the £2 trillion mark or 80% of GDP, the cost of ‘big government’ becomes increasingly unsustainable.
UKIP‘s prescription is about giving people and communities the tools to be self-reliant, and getting the over-mighty, over-intrusive ‘big state’ off their backs, so they can begin to take control, pay down their debts and take responsibility for their own lives.
(Printed and Promoted by UKIP Mid-Dorset & North Poole, 20 Nightjar Close, Poole, BH17 7YN)