The Sovereignty of Parliament

The bombing of Syria at the weekend has raised the issue of the “Sovereignty of Parliament”. According to Jeremy Corbyn, Ken Clarke and many others, Theresa May should have consulted Parliament before joining the US and France in slapping Bashar al-Assad over the wrist for gassing his own people in Syria’s interminable and brutal civil war.

Some have professed to see a contradiction between the Brexit goal of restoring Parliamentary Sovereignty and the Prime Minister’s willingness to commit the UK military without parliamentary approval.

I have my doubts about the efficacy of a strategy of launching an air strike every time we are confronted with horrific scenes on the television. But that is not the subject of this post. It seems to me the important principle of the Sovereignty of Parliament is being misunderstood.

In the UK constitution, Parliament is the Legislature not the Executive. Parliamentary Sovereignty means that laws made in the UK Parliament may not be overruled by foreign courts, or by foreign parliaments. That is the principle that was breached by our membership of the EU, and that will be restored by Brexit.

It does not mean that the PM must consult Parliament before making every executive decision. There are many good reasons why that would not work, and in the case of military action, the PM is quite correct to say that the need for prompt action, and the need to take into account highly sensitive intelligence sources makes that impractical. (Parliamentary debates are of course open to the public and reported in Hansard).

There is no legal or constitutional requirement for a PM to seek the approval of Parliament before taking military action. There has been a recent convention of seeking such consent. In 2013 Tony Bliar persuaded Parliament to rubber-stamp the invasion of Iraq. In 2013 David Cameron failed to get approval for military action in Syria, and as a result abandoned that course of action.

The history of this convention is not good. Parliament is hostage to whatever version of the intelligence the Government chooses to make available. This is not the proper role of Parliament, and it certainly isn’t Parliamentary Sovereignty.

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Gender pay gap @again@

Not content to leave meaningless statistics about the supposed gender pay gap to the SJWs, the Government itself has now got in on the act, by requiring all companies with more than 250 employees to report on the difference in mean and median pay of their male and female employees. As the deadline for the reports passed today the PM herself has weighed in against this “burning injustice”.

To listen to how this is reported by the BBC and politicians of all the big parties you would think it was incontrovertible that the ‘pay gap’ supposedly revealed in these statistics was real, significant and demanding of urgent attention.

But the public comments in the national press give a different picture. Theresa May’s offering in the Daily Telegraph was almost universally condemned, sometimes in the most vituperative terms. A selection:

There is no gender pay gap.

Do you want to know why you lost so much support in the last general election. You’re doing it….

Is there no populist, virtue signalling bandwagon that May will not cling to desperately? How can you end a gap caused largely by people’s life and work choices rather than their gender?

Oh for goodness sake haven’t you got more important things you should be concentrating on.. ?

And this is not just a right-of-centre opinion. Even in the Grauniad it is not much better, with the majority of commenters doubting that the figures revealed over the past couple of days mean anything at all. Again a selection:

For the nth time, it’s not a ‘pay gap’ – which suggests men and women get paid differently for the same job – it’s an ‘earnings gap’, which is a complex phenomenon that’s substantially based on men and women’s different – and voluntary – career choices. This whole debate is poisoned by bogus notions of injustice and identity politics.

You wouldn’t know it from the misleading headlines that women are paid X% less than men. That’s not what the figures say. The figures show there are more men in senior well paid roles and more women in low paid roles. Not good, but not the same s saying there is an equal pay issue, which is a different issue.

There seems to be so many reasons packed into the ‘gender pay gap’ statistical outcome, that it’s hard to know what private companies are supposed to do about it. Even Harriet Harman says this is nothing to do with illegality, yet the implication is that the private company is being blamed.

So, far from being a crime crying out to heaven for vengeance, the “gender pay gap” seems to be something that only politicians and media pundits believe in. The general public, whatever their political stripe, are not taken in. The concerns of the political/media elite are simply not shared – and indeed are mocked and vilified – by the rest of the population. And yet they carry on regardless. In a democracy this can’t go on forever.

Who will Police the Police?

Earlier today I tweeted about a case in the news involving the arrest of a 78-year old man on suspicion of murder after a suspected burglar was stabbed to death.

“What are our police thinking?” I said “He should be given a bloody medal!”.

Nothing better illustrates the increasingly dysfunctional relationship between the public and the forces of law and order than the reflexive reaction of the police to arrest a member of the public for defending himself against an armed criminal.

I am not of course saying that finding an intruder in your house gives you carte-blanche to kill them. The facts of the case are crucial. According to the BBC:

“The homeowner discovered two intruders in South Park Crescent, Hither Green, south-east London, at about 00:45 BST.

“One suspect, armed with a screwdriver, forced the man into his kitchen where a struggle ensued and he was stabbed, Scotland Yard said. [My emphasis].

“The 38-year-old was taken to hospital by paramedics but was pronounced dead at 03:40.”

In other words the police had established to their own satisfaction that the 78-year old man (who has not yet been named) was the householder, the deceased was a burglar, and the burglar was holding the householder prisoner and threatening him with a deadly weapon at the time of the stabbing. And knowing all this, they arrested him on suspicion of murder.

“When someone dies the police have to investigate” said a member of my household. Well, of course. But they don’t have to arrest all the witnesses in order to investigate a crime do they? Because that is what the householder is in this case. A victim and a witness. On the face of it this is a clear case of self defence, and the only crime to have been committed is burglary.

When a death has occurred there has to be a thorough investigation, and it remains possible that when all the facts are examined the police might decide there is a case the householder committed a crime. That would be the time to arrest him and charge him.

My point is that when there is a prime facie case that a member of the public has not committed a crime (though a possibility they may have done), and no reason to suspect they will flee, destroy evidence, or fail to cooperate with the police, then there are no legal grounds to arrest them. I am sure from reading about similar cases that police in the United States would not arrest under these circumstances, and they are also a common law jurisdiction.

The police could have taken a statement from this old man as a witness. Or they could have interviewed him under caution. According to reports he suffered minor injuries and he must surely have been traumatised by being burgled, threatened and involved in a life and death struggle with an armed criminal. As far as we know he is still being held in custody. This is inhumane, unnecessary and very probably illegal. Yet we have come to accept the arrest of law-abiding citizens guilty only of defending themselves against criminals as normal.

We must hope this unfortunate pensioner is released without charge as soon as possible and allowed to return home. And unless the facts turn out to be very different from those that Scotland Yard were happy to report to the BBC, a medal for bravery would not be out of place.

On a brighter note, Alison Saunders’ mission at the CPS to imprison everyone with a penis has ended. We must hope the fiasco of putting the police and CPS under political pressure to increase rape convictions, irrespective of the requirements of justice, has been recognised and is at an end too. This is well covered by the Daily Telegraph by Allison PearsonRowan Pelling and Gary Bell.

These episodes could not make clearer the need in this country for a genuinely populist party, by which I mean one representing the populace, the ordinary voters, reasserting our rights over identikit politicians, metropolitan elites and faceless bureaucrats.

After taking back control of our democracy we need to take back control of the police, the CPS and the courts, whose purpose should be to protect and serve the people, not to oppress them.

Update – 9 April 2018

The OAP involved in this case, named as 78-year old Richard Osborne-Brooks was released on bail on Thursday 5 April and on Friday was told he will face no further action.

In a statement, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Harding, of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said:

“As expected with any incident where someone has lost their life, my officers carried out a thorough investigation into the circumstances of the death.

“We have approached the CPS for early investigative advice, as required under the guidance.

“We have received and considered that advice, and, at present – on the evidence available – we will not seek a charging decision.

“Therefore, no further action will be taken against the man.”

So far so good, but we have no explanation of the decision to arrest a man who, on the evidence available to the police at the time, had committed no crime, and had in fact been the victim of a crime. Only this:

“While there might be various forms of debate about which processes should be used in cases such as this, it was important that the resident was interviewed by officers under the appropriate legislation of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act; not only for the integrity of our investigation but also so that his personal and legal rights were protected.”

That really is not good enough. Police powers of arrest are explained here.

“To arrest you the police need reasonable grounds to suspect you’re involved in a crime for which your arrest is necessary.”

Yet in this case, the original police statement (see above) clearly indicated the householder had done nothing illegal. What is more, grounds for the arrest being “necessary” even if there were reason to believe a crime had been committed, seem to be lacking. Such grounds might include the likelihood of a person committing another crime, destroying evidence, or absconding. None of these would be likely in the case of a 78-year burglary victim, even if subsequent investigations had thrown doubt upon the strength of his “reasonable force” defence.

DCI Harding’s statement appears defensive on this point. No one is going to argue with the view that the circumstances of the death had to be investigated. But he gives no reason why taking a statement under caution would not have been appropriate. According to the Daily Mirror.

a law enforcement source said Mr Osborn-Brooks would have been arrested as a matter of course. [My emphasis]

And I think that is the explanation. But arrest is not a tool for dealing with witnesses, or with victims of crime. We should not accept that the police “as a matter of course” arrest anyone from whom they wish to take a statement. Such an attitude is corrosive to the generally good relationship that has obtained between the British police and general public, and of which both the police and the public have reason to be proud.

The Bolton Legacy

This article was first published at kippercentral on 19 February 2018.

On Saturday (17 February 2018) I attended the UKIP EGM at which Henry Bolton was removed from the leadership, and Gerard Batten replaced him as interim leader.

I voted against Bolton, so I was satisfied with the result: the members were right to conclude that he was no longer a tenable leader.

But I don’t want to pick over the flaws of the Bolton leadership. That is now in the past. I want instead to concentrate on one thing that I think he got right, that we are in danger of losing sight of as we move forward.

He was right about constitutional reform being needed, and he was broadly correct about the form that it needs to take. I was not recording or taking notes so I may not have got this quite right, but I remember him to have said this:

“You can’t have the the day-to-day running of a modern political organisation in the hands of a body that meets for three hours once a month”.

He was of course talking about the UKIP NEC, and he is surely correct. Nigel Farage has also called for reform, memorably calling the NEC total amateurs who come to London once a month with sandwiches in their rucksacks.

Bolton’s supporters had tried to paint the EGM as a battle between the leader and the NEC, and furthermore a battle about reform vs the status quo. In response his opponents trashed his “back of a fag packet” new constitution, and it was fairly easy to do so. But thoughtful members on both sides recognised the need for reform, so let us try to see what we can retrieve from the wreckage.

I have a long-standing interest in the Governance of representative organisations, having been one of the authors of the constitution of the freelancers trade association IPSE (formerly PCG) in 2000, and a member of its Consultative Council (the rough equivalent of UKIPs NEC) ever since.

The basic dilemma in the Governance of a democratic organisation is that you need an elected body with real power drawn from the rank-and-file members, and to represent a cross-section of views it needs to be quite large. But such a body is by definition amateur. (If you were to pay them a salary , even if you could afford it, they wouldn’t be ordinary members any more). So they won’t have time to spend more than a few hours each week keeping up to speed with developments, and they can’t react quickly enough to keep pace with the media cycle.

On the other hand it is well established that effective executive decision-making is done by a body of 6-8 people: enough to provide a range of views, but not so many as to induce paralysis. And you need a professional full-time staff to implement those decisions, issue press releases, write briefings, produce newsletters, answer the phones, give interviews etc.

So your directly elected body can’t run the organisation on a day-to-day basis, and should not try. But professional politicians and administrators necessarily have quite a different perspective to the ordinary voters they are paid to represent, and may not always accurately reflect their concerns. So the elected body must not be sidelined either. It’s members are not professional politicians but they will often be professionals in their own fields with a wealth of experience to bring to the organisation.

The problem, common to many organisations, is to strike the right balance between the powers of the part-time directly elected representatives, the smaller and more focussed executive with day-to-day control, and the full-time paid staff.

The problem with the current UKIP constitution is the one that Farage, Bolton and others correctly identified, namely that the NEC is effectively all-powerful and the leader is therefore unable to lead without fear of being overruled by the next monthly NEC meeting.

So the basic idea of a Party Management Board (PMB), with clearly defined responsibilities for the PMB, the NEC and the leader is valid. Indeed I think any professional Governance consultant would have come up with the same idea in one form or another. It is not rocket science.

The PMB must have day-to-day control and must be able to decide the party’s response to political events without having to wait for NEC approval. The leader is also elected by the members and the members expect him to be able to lead. Conversely the NEC should be consulted about, and have a role in formulating new policy initiatives. Direct involvement of the membership in the policy process via the internet should also be written into the constitution. The role of the NEC should then be primarily one of oversight. In order to do that it must be kept informed and consulted. Annual budgets should be approved by the NEC. Day-to-day expenditure should be in the hands of the PMB, etc.

How can we address the perceived democratic deficit involved in ceding day-to-day control to the PMB? There are a couple of ways. One is to have the PMB members appointed by the NEC, or appointed by the leader subject to confirmation by the NEC.

The other mechanism to keep control ultimately in the hands of the members is the one we exercised on Saturday, namely the EGM called as a result of a vote of no confidence by the NEC. (Bolton’s proposed constitution retained this power). This power should be used rarely, but the possibility should be enough to ensure that the leader and the PMB do not go off the rails or compromise the principles of the party and the interests of it members. It worked this time.

In summary, while Bolton’s proposed reforms were hastily thrown together and contained some ill-advised novelties, to dismiss them in their entirety as Stalinist is misguided. Any serious attempt to address the shortcomings of the present rules is going to have to include the main features discussed here. The division of powers between the NEC, PMB and leader needs to be carefully formulated and widely discussed.

The main priorities of the interim leader should be to project a clear policy agenda, re-assert UKIPs place in the debate about of leaving the EU, and energise the party to fight the local elections in May. But in parallel with that a working party of the NEC should be tasked with turning Bolton’s draft into a document ready to be put out to consultation with the members. This can be put off no longer.

 

 

Bolton’s new UKIP constitution

Henry Bolton made his proposed reforms to the UKIP constitution available today.

The need for reform has been one of Bolton’s themes since the leadership election campaign, and even more so in the run-up to the EGM next week, in which the UKIP membership will decide whether to endorse last month’s vote of no confidence in his leadership by the NEC.

I made my view on Bolton clear here. But the need for constitutional change is not just his personal obsession. Nigel Farage has also called for reform, memorably calling the NEC total amateurs who come to London once a month with sandwiches in their rucksacks.

So let us take a look at the proposed reforms on their own terms, before considering how, if at all, this should affect the vote at the EGM on Saturday.

I have a long-standing interest in the Governance of representative organisations, having been one of the authors of the constitution of the freelancers trade association IPSE (formerly PCG) in 2000, and a member of its Consultative Council (the rough equivalent of UKIPs NEC) ever since.

The basic dilemma of Governance is that to be democratic you need an elected body with real power drawn from the rank-and-file members, and to represent a reasonable cross-section of views it needs to be quite large. But such a body is by definition amateur. (If you were to pay them a salary , even if you could afford it, they wouldn’t be ordinary members any more). They don’t have time to spend more than a few hours each week keeping up to speed with developments, and they can’t react quickly enough to keep pace with the media cycle.

It is well established that effective executive decision-making is done by a body of 6-8 people: enough to provide a range of perspectives, but not so many as to induce paralysis. And you need a professional full-time staff to implement those decisions, issue press releases, write briefings, produce newsletters, answer the phones, give interviews etc.

So your directly elected body can’t run the organisation on a day-to-day basis, and should not try. But professional politicians and administrators necessarily have quite a different perspective to the ordinary voters they are paid to represent. (Possibly the biggest structural problem we have in British politics today is that the professional politicians in all the mainstream parties have gone native and now have far more in common with each other than with their electorates. That is why UKIP was needed to get us out of the EU). So the elected body must not be sidelined either. It’s members are not professional politicians but they will often be professionals in their own fields with a wealth of experience to bring to the organisation.

The problem, then, is to strike the right balance between the powers of the part-time directly elected representatives, the smaller and more focussed executive with strategic control, and the full-time paid staff. That can be done, but I firmly believe that human nature is such that it can’t be done without a more or less permanent state of tension between the different arms of the organisation. You are winning if you manage to make this a creative rather than a destructive tension. With that in mind, how do Bolton’s proposals stand up?

This is not a wholesale rewrite of the constitution but in large part a tweaking of the existing one. The main departure is to introduce a Party Management Board (PMB) to take on the role of the executive as I described above. The idea is that the NEC is responsible for oversight and the PMB is the primary decision-making body with day-to-day control. However the NEC retains the word ‘executive’ in its name which is likely to cause confusion. Perhaps renaming it the National Committee (NC) would be wise?

Nomenclature apart what is proposed is a fairly conventional structure. The main shortcoming of the existing structure, namely that too much responsibility is placed on the amateur and part-time NEC, is fixed. But the details are scrappy. For example at 2.6 we have:

To that end it shall be the policy of the Party that the United Kingdom shall cease to be a member of the European Union or take any decision that shall involve the surrender of any part of the United Kingdom’s sovereign independence.

That it not quite grammatical. Has this taken Bolton five months to put together? Or was it cooked up in the last couple of weeks with no time for proof-reading? New clauses clip the wings of he NEC and unsurprisingly the Party Leader gains powers:

36.2 The Party Leader shall have responsibility for the direction and management of all aspects of the Party’s policy and political organisation.

36.3 The Party Leader shall be supported by the Chief of Staff and the Staff in delivering his responsibilities.

NEC members become the regional chairmen. This makes sense for a political party because both council and parliamentary elections are inherently local.

The NEC retains very few powers that can’t be vetoed by the leader. But crucially it does retain the right take a vote of no confidence in the leader, to be confirmed, as at present, by an EGM of the members. So despite the somewhat hyperbolic language it would be wrong in my view to see the new rules as nothing but a power grab by the leader. The leader is also elected by the members and the members expect him to be able to lead. The no confidence/EGM mechanism is the right one, should the NEC decide the leader has gone off the rails. The proposed constitution provides a broadly reasonable balance between the NEC, PMB and leader and (subject to consultation and amendment) gets my qualified support.

However the way this has been launched less than a week before the no-confidence EGM must raise suspicions that it is at least in part a diversionary tactic. How long would we have had to wait for a draft constitution and a timetable for consultation if the Marney text messages had not surfaced? As Bolton puts it  “This is the opportunity – reform or die”. This isn’t about me or my racist girlfriend, it’s about this new constitution. Vote for me or the constitution gets it!

But the EGM is not about reform. The only motion on the ballot is about the fitness of the leader. There seems to be very broad agreement that reform is needed, and there is nothing particularly clever about the proposed changes. Any professional governance consultant would have come up with something very similar. Why should we suppose Bolton is the only leader who could deliver it?

There is also a danger of fetishising process. Reform must happen, but what the party needs most urgently at present is sound policies and strong leadership, and Bolton has given no indication he can provide either.

On Monday night I attended a meeting of Gloucester UKIP at which Bill Etheridge (UKIP MEP), Gareth Bennett (UKIP NEC and WAM), Reece Coombes (founder of kippercentral.com) and several others spoke. The consensus among many members who had dealt (or tried to deal) with Bolton was that if you were not in his inner circle, you could not get to talk to him. He was described as aloof and arrogant. His treatment of Young UKIP in failing to listen to their concerns about raising the student membership fee from £2 to £20 came in for particular criticism. His complete failure to support Gareth Bennett in his freedom of speech dispute with the Welsh Assembly was hard to comprehend.

Perhaps surprisingly, Bolton’s private life was hardly raised as a reason for voting against him. For many activists and NEC members  the Marney affair appears to be the last straw, serving to underline the leader’s poor judgement, lack of integrity and inability to conduct himself appropriately.

Nevertheless it is clear Bolton has pockets of support around the country, particularly in the West Midlands where the EGM is to be held. Nothing can be taken for granted. If you are still a UKIP member and you think this vote matters, you have to be in Birmingham on Saturday.

We need an EU Tariff Mirror

Back in 2016 I suggested the idea of an EU “tariff mirror” in a change.org petition. I wrote:

The UK must be prepared to trade under WTO rules if necessary, but should prefer no tariffs. Between those extremes the UK should offer a “tariff mirror”, i.e. match whatever tariffs or taxes the EU imposes on broad categories of goods and services from the UK. Mutual interest would require such tariffs to be low.

What I didn’t cover was how to put this into practice in a way that would not fall foul of the WTOs “most favoured nation” rule. This has now been addressed by the idea of an Import Excess Tax (IET) promoted in an article at Brexit Central by David M. Owen.

In essence, we would not set tariffs on EU goods as such, but would levy a new tax on UK companies with net imports from the EU. The rate would be set to exactly balance any tariffs the EU puts on the UK’s goods, and would be paid through the quarterly VAT return. So as in my original proposal, if they don’t charge us any tariffs, they don’t have to pay any.

As I understand it, such a policy would comply with WTO rules provided we set a global zero tariff on all imports. This policy has been strongly advocated elsewhere.

I will defer to David M. Owen on the details of WTO tax regulations. I do however think that Tariff Mirror is a rather more catchy and intuitively understandable name for the idea than Import Excess Tax. What do readers think?

Support Drains from Bolton

Here we go again …

In March last year I was moved to write this post concerning UKIPs previous leader. Paul Nuttall hung on until after the 2017 General Election, when UKIPs disastrous showing made his resignation inevitable. But really Nuttall’s leadership became untenable when he was exposed as a serial fantasist (or at least compulsive liar) with a string of false claims about his past including having been a professional footballer and having a PhD in History. This both called his character into question, and made him the story.

Ten months later, here we are again. Henry Bolton has been in the news, first for leaving his wife and two young children and taking up with 25 year old UKIP activist Jo Marney, and secondly for her racist text messages about Meghan Markle revealed in the Mail on Sunday.

The perfectly valid point that it is monstrous for the private communications of a person who is not themselves in the public eye to be made public and used to denounce them and discredit those associated with them has be well made by Spiked Online and I will not repeat it.

The issue here is not that Bolton should go because of his private life, nor because he is somehow responsible for text messages sent by his (now ex-) girlfriend before he met her. It is the appalling lack of judgement evidenced by these episodes. Bolton has become the story and can never now have a hope of presenting UKIP in a positive light.

As it happens I generally hold the we anglo-saxons should be rather less censorious about politicians private lives. This is one area where a more french attitude would be appropriate. People marry, people get divorced, people marry again. It is their private business, and not normally of public interest or political relevance.

Why is this different? Because it indicates a man who is impulsive, of poor judgement, and unable to deal with the pressures he would inevitably face as the leader of UKIP.

Henry Bolton was entirely unknown until he stood for the UKIP leadership. Suddenly, he finds himself leader of a national political party and being interviewed regularly on the nation’s top current affairs programs – a role in which he acquitted himself fairly well given his lack of experience. Was he not aware, or had no one warned him, that there is a certain kind of young woman who is drawn to older men with status and influence? (An affinity that is not necessarily mercenary, though it may be. Some women are genuinely attracted by the trappings of power). Apparently no one had.

Within a few weeks of meeting Jo Marney at a UKIP Christmas party, Bolton had abandoned his family’s Christmas Eve celebrations in Austria and flown back to the UK to take up with the 25-year old model. Early suggestions that Bolton was already estranged from his wife when he met Marney appear to be inaccurate.

Maybe Marney was not the first young activist to take an interest in the 54-year old leader since his election in September this year. But she could hardly have been a less suitable partner for a UKIP leader.  If – to put the best possible interpretation on events – you are inclined to troll friends with outrageous racist opinions you don’t really hold – surely anyone with a half a brain would know not to put them in writing? Surely everyone in this day and age knows that not only social media but emails and text messages come back to haunt you? That a man in a sensitive political role would take up with a new partner exhibiting such poor judgement at such short notice reflects very poorly on his own judgement.

UKIP has had some success defending the position that wanting to control immigration isn’t racist. That wanting to accord some rights to your own citizens that you don’t accord to non-citizens isn’t racist. That failing to invite every self-proclaimed refugee in the world into your country isn’t racist. That wanting to be governed by your own elected politicians rather than foreign bureaucrats isn’t racist. The last thing we need in fighting that battle is UKIP members saying stuff – even in private – even in jest if that is what is was – that genuinely is racist. That is why UKIP takes such a strong line on racism and anyone who does not understand that has no place in UKIP, and certainly no place within 100 miles of the leader.

The picture is of a man who is unable to resist the temptations that a role in national UK politics may bring with it, and is simultaneously unable to understand the effect that giving in to them will have on his reputation and by association that of his party. He has to go.

Whether there is a future for UKIP after the implosion of its fourth leader in 18 months remains to be seen. There is certainly no future with him at the helm.

Updates

21 January 2018

Henry Bolton unanimously lost a vote of no confidence from the UKIP NEC. Since then the following UKIP spokespersons have resigned:

  • Star Anderton (Equalities and disabilities)
  • Bill Etheridge MEP (Sports)
  • Margot Parker MEP (Deputy leader)
  • John Bickley (Immigration)
  • Mike Hookem MEP (Fisheries and veterans affairs)
  • Tim Aker MEP (Local government)
  • William Dartmouth (Trade)
  • David Kurten AM (Education)
  • David Meacock (Culture)
  • Peter Whittle AM (London)
  • David Sprason (Work and pensions)

Other senior figures have left the party:

  • Jonathan Arnott MEP
  • Susie Govett (Bolton’s leadership campaign press aide)

25 January 2018

This evening I attended a meeting of the Hereford and South Herefordshire UKIP branch and we discussed the leadership situation.

The meeting unanimously agreed a vote of no confidence in Henry Bolton, and asked the branch chairman to write to the party chairman and the leader to ask that he stand down immediately and avoid a divisive EGM.