Following the disappointing by-election result in Stoke Central on 23 February UKIP activists have called for the resignation of its candidate and party leader Paul Nuttall.
On 7 March UKIP’s Hereford branch backed a vote of no confidence in Nuttall by nine votes to zero with three abstentions.
Activists, several of whom had travelled to Stoke to take part in the by-election, were upset by press reports of numerous false claims about Nuttall’s past that emerged during the campaign, including that Nuttall had lost “close personal friends” at Hillsborough.
Speaking on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday (5 March), Nuttall apologised for the inaccuracies and for any offence caused, blaming the mistakes on press officers.
But evidence was presented to the Hereford branch meeting suggesting that a number of false claims had been repeated over a period of several years, including the Hillsborough claim, and that Nuttall had played professional football for Tranmere Rovers. Untrue claims that he had been a director of the North West Training Council, and had a PhD in history were also raised.
UKIP is supposed to be different
“I joined UKIP because it was supposed to be different” said the proposer of the no confidence motion, Gareth Williams of Ross-on-Wye. “We can be forgiven a few members going off message from time to time, but what UKIP can’t survive is the impression that we are just another party of careerist hacks prepared to say anything to get into power”.
The decision to “parachute in” the party leader was also criticised at the meeting. “If UKIP stands for anything it stands for localism” said Williams. “UKIP should always stand a local candidate”.
Branch Chairman David Howle said he would write to the party Chairman to convey the result of the vote.