Report from UKIP’s EGM
17th February 2018Birmingham
Gareth Bennett AM led a coach trip for members from across South Wales to UKIP’s crucial EGM which was held on Saturday 17th February at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham. Over 40 members made the journey on Bennett’s Battlebus, which started off early in the morning from Carmarthen, picking up supporters from Bridgend and Cardiff along the way, before reaching Birmingham in time for some well earned refreshment before the meeting started.
There was one item on the agenda, and that was the Vote of No Confidence which had been passed by UKIP’s National Executive Committee in Henry Bolton’s leadership of UKIP. Speaking ahead of the EGM, Gareth, who had been a voting member of the NEC when it made the decision to move to oust Bolton, said; “Enough is enough. Grassroots members are sick and tired of Henry’s so called leadership. We’ve heard barely anything from him on Brexit. Our policy platforms are rudderless and it seems the only affairs Henry’s interested in are not exactly political. His moves to “reform” the Party will be seen by the members for what they are, a cynical power grab and too little, too late.”
Over 1500 UKIP members from up and down the country flocked to the conference hall to hear impassioned speeches from NEC members Steve Crowther, Paul Oakley and Paula Walters, together with a bizarre defence from Henry Bolton himself, who at one stage seemed to think that the best way to win support was to threaten yet more legal action against the Party he wanted to lead. Soon, the members had their chance to give their verdict on Bolton’s leadership and the NEC’s Vote of No Confidence. And they had they say in spades.
Two thirds of the members present supported the NEC’s vote, and the outgoing Party Chairman, Paul Oakden, annnounced that Bolton had lost the vote by 867 (63%) to 500 (37%). Henry Bolton was therefore removed as Party Leader, and the NEC moved swiftly to install Gerard Batten as Interim Leader. Under UKIP’s Constitution, a full leadership election must now take place within 90 days so that the membership can elect a permanent Leader.
Gareth said; “I’m really pleased that common sense has prevailed and the membership have endorsed the NEC’s decision to oust Bolton. In taking that decision at the NEC meeting, I had listened to the voice of grassroots members from up and down the country, who inundated me and other NEC members with emails and calls, the overwhelming majority of them tired at Horrid Henry’s antics. Unfortunately, I’ve since been replaced on the NEC by another Welsh Assembly Member, and I only hope that my successor will also be in listening mode as the Party moves forward.
It’s now crucial that UKIP selects a leader who can unite the Party and press for a swift, clean exit from the EU. We also need to develop our policy platforms across a wide range of areas, including opposing the nonsense that is Cultural Marxism and political correctness, as well as standing up for free speech and the rights of ordinary UK citizens. I look forward to playing my part in that.”