UKIP’s leader, the infamous “Liar and Cheat” Neil Hamilton is stepping down, opening up the way for a leadership battle and renewed attempts to seek mergers with other small far right groups.
The decision was recorded at the party’s most recent National Executive Meeting where, apparently, “it was decided that it was time to elect a new leader of the party especially during a General Election year…now Neil would like to enjoy more time with his family”. Not clear, therefore, whether he jumped or was pushed. The official announcement will not be made until January.
The idea that Hamilton wants to spend more time with his family is curious: he has no children and his wife, Christine, with whom he is pretty much joined at the hip anyway, rejoices in the nickname of “the battleaxe”.
Informed gossip has it that Hamilton had become a major obstacle to unity with other right-wing groups, a unity which many UKIP members crave. They desperately want a hook up with Reform UK, Reclaim, the Heritage Party and/or others to arrest UKIP’s remorseless decline and avoid the duplication that is currently taking place at by elections. Already they have a deal with Robin Tilbrook’s English Democrats where the two will jointly contest elections as The Patriots Alliance. Hamilton’s reputation going back years for sleaze and dishonesty has, however, proved a stumbling block to linking up with others.
The runners and riders, according to UKIP’s internal bookies, are the unpleasant anti-Islam campaigner Ann Marie Waters and the party’s ridiculous Deputy Leader, Rebecca “Barbie” Jane . Party chairman Ben “rogue builder” Walker, the party’s de facto leader since his election in 2020, is prevented by the party constitution from holding both posts and, in any case, would much rather pull the strings from behind the scenes. His preferred candidate will almost certainly be Rebecca Jane who, apart from anything else, will be much more easily manipulated that Waters. There is little love lost between the two women and the phrase “cat fight” is being bandied about. Robin Tilbrook may also fancy his chances, but in reality, they are slim.
As we have said before, there is not much appetite amongst the likes of Lawrence Fox’s Reclaim and Richard Tice’s Brexit Party successor Reform UK to tie up with UKIP. All have their own distinct reasons for not being keen on the idea and Rebecca Jane got her fingers badly burned when she thought she had cut a deal with Fox in the Uxbridge by election where she would, in effect, be the joint candidate. At the last minute he welshed on the arrangement and stood as well.
It’s possible however, that some might be tempted by the prospect of lucrative bequests from elderly UKIP members which are coming down the track, though that journey may prove to be via the law courts. The surviving family of one deceased UKIP veteran recently succeeded in challenging his will which left some £180,000 to UKIP. The judge agreed with them that the UKIP to which their relative had left his money bore little resemblance to the UKIP we see today.
Another rather pathetic attempt to polish up the party’s image involves prominent Welsh UKIP activist and Voice of Wales founder Dan Morgan changing his name to Dan Vow (Voice Of Wales -geddit?) following his conviction in a massive telephone fraud case recently reported by Searchlight (https://www.searchlightmagazine.com/2023/11/ukip-crooks-and-jokers-try-to-capitalise-on-anti-migrant-success-in-llanelli/.
As ‘Dan Vow’ he’s created a new Facebook profile (he’s the one on the left with the camera) and has started using his new persona on Voice of Wales broadcasts: