UK Independence Party
|UK Independence Party|
|Welsh name||Plaid Annibyniaeth y DU|
|Leader||Nigel Farage MEP|
|Deputy Leader||Paul Nuttall MEP|
|Executive chairman||Steve Crowther|
|Founded||3 September 1993|
|Headquarters||Newton Abbot, Devon|
|Youth wing||Young Independence|
|European Parliament group||Europe of Freedom and Democracy|
|House of Commons|
|House of Lords|
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
|Local government||citation needed][|
|Police & Crime Commissioners|
The UK Independence Party (UKIP, Ukip, // YEW-kip) is a Eurosceptic right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom, founded in 1993. The party describes itself in its constitution as a "democratic, libertarian party" and, as of May 2013, has a membership of 27,500.
As of May 2013, UKIP has 11 of the 73 UK seats in the European Parliament, three members in the House of Lords and one seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly, though it has never won a seat in the House of Commons. The UKIP performance in the 2013 local election was the best result for a party outside the big three in British politics since the Second World War, coming fourth in the number of council seats won and third in projected nationwide votes. Nigel Farage is the leader of UKIP after being re-elected on 5 November 2010, having previously serving as leader from 2006 to 2009. Farage is a founding member of the party (from its formation as the Anti-Federalist League in 1991) and has been a UKIP Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 1999.
Founding and early years
UKIP was founded in 1993 by Alan Sked and other members of the all-party Anti-Federalist League – a political party set up in November 1991 with the aim of fielding candidates opposed to the Maastricht Treaty.
Its primary objective was withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The new party attracted some members of the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party, which was split on the European question after the pound was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 and the struggle over ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. UKIP candidates stood in the 1997 general election, but were overshadowed by James Goldsmith's Referendum Party.
After the election, Sked resigned from the leadership and left the party because he felt "they are racist and have been infected by the far-right" and "doomed to remain on the political fringes". However, Goldsmith died soon after the election and the Referendum Party was dissolved, with a resulting influx of new UKIP supporters. The leadership election was won by the millionaire businessman Michael Holmes, and in the 1999 elections to the European Parliament UKIP gained three seats and 7% of the vote. In that election, Nigel Farage (South East England), Jeffrey Titford (East of England), and Michael Holmes (South West England) were elected.
Over the following months there was a power struggle between Holmes, and the party's National Executive Committee (NEC). This was partly due to Holmes making a speech perceived as calling for greater powers for the European Parliament against the European Commission. Ordinary party members forced the resignation of both Holmes and the entire NEC and Jeffrey Titford was subsequently elected leader. Holmes resigned from the party itself in March 2000. There was a legal battle when he tried to continue as an independent MEP until resigning from the European Parliament in December 2002, when he was replaced by Graham Booth, the second candidate on the UKIP list in South West England.
UKIP put up candidates in more than 420 seats in the 2001 general election, attaining 1.5% of the vote and failing to win any representation at Westminster. It also failed to break through in the elections to the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly, despite those elections being held under proportional representation. In 2002, Titford stood down as party leader, but continued to sit as a UKIP MEP. He was replaced as leader by Roger Knapman.
Kilroy Silk and UKIP under Knapman
The 2004 European elections provided UKIP's first major electoral victory, coming third with winning 12 MEPs elected. In the London Assembly elections the same year, UKIP won two London Assembly seats.
In late 2004, the mainstream UK press speculated on if or when the UKIP MEP, former Labour Party MP and chat-show host Robert Kilroy-Silk would take control of the party. These comments were heightened by Kilroy-Silk's speech at the UKIP party conference in Bristol on 2 October 2004, in which he called for the Conservative Party to be "killed off" following the by-election in Hartlepool, where UKIP finished third (with 10.2%) above the Conservatives in fourth (9.7%).
Interviewed by Channel 4 television, Kilroy-Silk did not deny having ambitions to lead the party, but stressed that Roger Knapman would lead it into the next general election. However, the next day, on Breakfast with Frost, he criticised Knapman's leadership. After further disagreement with the leadership, Kilroy-Silk resigned the UKIP whip in the European Parliament on 27 October 2004. Initially, he remained a member, while seeking a bid for the party leadership. However, this was not successful and he resigned completely from UKIP on 20 January 2005, calling it a "joke". Two weeks later, he founded his own party, Veritas, taking a number of UKIP members, including both of the London Assembly members, with him.
UKIP had hoped to sustain its momentum in the 2005 general election, but despite fielding 495 candidates, the party failed to achieve a breakthrough as it had in the European elections a year before. UKIP gained 618,000 votes, or 2.3% of the total votes cast in the election, an increase of 220,000 votes from its result in the 2001 general election. This placed it fourth in terms of total votes cast, behind the Liberal Democrats and ahead of the Scottish National Party. However, the party again failed to win any seats at Westminster. 45 UKIP candidates saved their deposits, up from only six in 2001. Its best performance was in Boston & Skegness, where its candidate Richard Horsnell came third with 9.6% of the vote.
Following the 2005 general election, Kilroy-Silk subsequently resigned from Veritas after its performance in the election, having harnessed only 40,000 votes.
2009 European elections
On 28 March 2009, the Conservative Party's biggest-ever donor, Stuart Wheeler, donated £100,000 to UKIP after criticising David Cameron's stance towards the Lisbon treaty and the European Union. He said, "If they kick me out I will understand. I will be very sorry about it, but it won't alter my stance." The following day, 29 March, he was expelled from the Conservative Party.
On 15 May 2009, a YouGov poll conducted for The Sun newspaper showed UKIP as having 15% of the vote for the impending European Elections, only 5% behind the Labour Party.
Leadership election, 2009
In September 2009, Nigel Farage announced that he would be resigning as leader of the party in order to stand for Parliament against the Speaker, John Bercow — an imperfectly observed convention states that the main parties do not normally nominate candidates against an incumbent Speaker. Malcolm Pearson, Baron Pearson of Rannoch, Gerard Batten, Nikki Sinclaire, Mike Nattrass and Alan Wood stood for election as leader of the party, and Pearson won.
2010 general election
UKIP fielded 572 candidates in the 2010 general election; its main target seat was Buckingham, Bercow's constituency. UKIP hoped for a hung parliament in which the Liberal Democrats would drive through proportional representation as a key demand to form a coalition government. Lord Pearson asked some prospective candidates to stand down in favour of Eurosceptic Conservative and Labour MPs. However, some refused to do so. This did not stop Lord Pearson from campaigning on behalf of the Conservative candidates stating that he was "putting country before party". These decisions drew some criticism from within the party from the likes of Michael Heaver of Young Independence.
In the election the party polled 3.1% of the vote (919,471 votes), but took no seats. This made it the party with the largest percentage of the popular vote to win no seats in the election. (In a fully proportional system, 3.1% of 649 seats would be just over 20 seats.)
In UKIP's key target of Buckingham, Farage obtained just 17% of the vote – despite Lord Tebbit and numerous senior Conservatives voicing support for him and a Conservative Home online survey putting Farage on 64% and Bercow on 25%. Thus he came third behind Bercow and the independent John Stevens (Buckinghamshire Campaign for Democracy), who had previously resigned from the Conservatives to found the Pro-Euro Conservative Party. UKIP was also third in three other constituencies: North Cornwall, North Devon and Torridge and West Devon. Farage's result was the best of all constituencies that the party contested in that election. The constituency of Boston and Skegness also achieved a large percentage of vote, the party's second best in terms of percentage.
Leadership election, 2010
Lord Pearson resigned as leader in August 2010, and Farage was re-elected against Professor Tim Congdon, David Bannerman and Winston McKenzie with more than 60% of the vote. During his acceptance speech, he spoke out against the Coalition government, saying that the Conservative Party's policy on Europe can be summed up as: "Surrender, surrender, surrender."
Lord Pearson welcomed Farage's re-election, saying, "The UKIP crown returns to its rightful owner."
Since the 2010 general election
In two by-elections in early 2011, UKIP fared better than predicted, with its candidate Jane Collins coming second in Barnsley Central. Farage welcomed Collins's success and said that UKIP should now aim to replace the Liberal Democrats as the third largest party, saying: "The Lib Dems are no longer the voice of opposition in British politics – we are. Between now and the next general election our aim is to replace them as the third party in British politics."
UKIP fielded 1,217 candidates for the local council elections, a major increase over its previous campaigns, but not enough to qualify for a party election broadcast on television. UKIP said that the party was well-organised in the South East, South West and Eastern regions, but there were still places across the country where there were no UKIP candidates standing at all.
Across the country, many UKIP candidates came second or third. UKIP in Newcastle-under-Lyme gained a total of five seats on Newcastle Borough Council in 2007 and 2008 and three seats on Staffordshire County Council in 2009. Although UKIP did not poll well, it made gains across many parts of England, as well as taking control of Ramsey town council with nine UKIP councillors out of 17. Whilst UKIP made gains and losses, the party fell short of Farage's predictions of major gains. The UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen called for Farage's resignation as leader of the party.
In October 2012, David McNarry, a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly who had been elected as an Ulster Unionist but was subsequently expelled from the party, joined UKIP, becoming its second representative in Northern Ireland alongside Henry Reilly, a councillor in Newry and Mourne.
On 29 November 2012, UKIP finished in second place in the 2012 Rotherham by-election, with 4,648 votes (21.7% of the votes cast). This was the highest percentage share recorded by UKIP in any parliamentary election (although it had polled a greater number of votes in both the 2012 Corby by-election and in Buckingham in the 2010 general election, where its candidate was Nigel Farage). Its candidate, Jane Collins, had previously been the only UKIP candidate to come second in any UK parliamentary election at Barnsley Central in 2011. UKIP also came second in 2012 in the Middlesbrough by-election and third in the Croydon North by-election, which were held on the same day as Rotherham.
During the Eastleigh by-election on 28 February 2013, the party's candidate Diane James polled the highest percentage (27.8%) and number of votes (11,571) ever for a UKIP parliamentary candidate. UKIP came second, 4.26% (1,771 votes) behind the Liberal Democrats who retained the seat. The Conservatives were pushed into third place with a quarter of the vote and the Labour Party into fourth place with less than 10% of the vote.
In the run-up to the 2013 local elections, UKIP continued to do well in opinion polls and put up a record number of candidates for the party, despite a number of controversies over individual candidates in the weeks before the elections with the BBC reporting that UKIP was investigating "six candidates over links to the BNP and other far right groups or alleged racist and homophobic comments, following stories in national and local newspapers." Several candidates were suspended from the party for racist views. UKIP accused the Conservative Party's Central Office of trawling through candidates' online presences to "smear" the party, but acknowledged that it did not have the time or money to vet all of its candidates.
In the 2013 county council elections across England, the party achieved its best ever local government result, polling an average of 23% in the wards it stood and returning 147 elected councillors. It made significant gains in Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Kent taking 15, 16 and 17 seats respectively. It was described as the best result for a party outside the big three in British politics since the Second World War. A Guardian/ICM poll in the week after these elections placed UKIP third in national polls, with nationwide support of 18%. However, analysis suggests that in one considered scenario this level of support will not be enough to win any seats at the next general election, and UKIP "face an uphill struggle to secure more than a handful of MPs". By 11 June 2013 UKIP had dropped 6 points in the Guardian/ICM poll, to join the Liberal Democrats on 12%, however by 16 June Comres had UKIP support at 19%  and Observer/Opinium at 20%.
List of Leaders of the party
|Craig Mackinlay||1997||Acting leader|
|Michael Holmes MEP||1997–2000||MEP from 1999–2004|
|Jeffrey Titford MEP||2000–2002||MEP from 1999–2009|
|Roger Knapman MEP||2002–2006||MEP from 2004–2009|
|Nigel Farage MEP||2006–2009||MEP from 1999|
|Lord Pearson of Rannoch||2009–2010|
|Jeffrey Titford||2010||Acting leader|
|Nigel Farage MEP||2010–present|
UKIP Scotland Leader
National Executive Committee
- Executive chairman: Steve Crowther
- Party Chief Executive: Will Gilpin
- Party director: Lisa Duffy, Mayor of Ramsey
- Party treasurer: Stuart Wheeler
- Party secretary: Michael Greaves
- General secretary: Jonathan Arnott
- Party Nominating Officer: Peter Reeve
- MEP for London: Gerard Batten
- London region: Steven Woolfe
- North West region: Louise Bours
- South East region: Doug Denny
- South West region: Neil Hamilton
- Eastern region: George Curtis
- South West region: Hugh Williams (Deputy Treasurer)
- London region: David Coburn
UKIP Northern Ireland
UKIP's membership in Northern Ireland was 247 in June 2013. UKIP's only representative to elected under the UKIP label in Northern Ireland, the Kilkeel councillor Henry Reilly, is the party's Northern Ireland chairman. Alan Love is its vice-chairman, Barbara Trotter is secretary and Alan Lewis is treasurer.
The party is registered as unionist in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Paul Nuttall, MEP for North West England and UKIP's deputy leader, has called for a UKIP-Traditional Unionist Voice electoral pact for the 2014 European Parliament election.
Although UKIP's original raison d'être was withdrawal from the European Union, it was felt that the public perception of the party as a single-issue party – despite issuing a full manifesto – was damaging electoral progress. Farage, on becoming leader, started a wide-ranging policy review, his stated aim being "the development of the party into broadly standing for traditional conservative and libertarian values". In its 2010 general election manifesto, UKIP stated that leaving the EU would allow Britain to "regain three essential Freedoms" and asserted a belief in civic nationalism, which it claims "is open and inclusive to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain, regardless of ethnic or religious background" while contrasting that with what it described as the "blood and soil" nationalism of extremist parties. An editorial in The Guardian newspaper in 2012 described the party as a "single-issue temptation for anti-EU Tories" and said that although it is "in some important ways" an English nationalist party, "it inhabits a very different world from avowedly racist groups such as the BNP or the EDL". However, according to academics Andrew Mycock and Richard Hayton, writing in The British Journal of Politics & International Relations, the party, along with the BNP and the English Democrats, "draw on shared narratives emphasising perceived English cultural, political and economic grievance".
Taxation and economy
UKIP proposes cuts in corporation taxes and the abolition of inheritance taxes. The abolition of inheritance tax would cost about £3bn a year. A flat rate of tax and the abolition of national insurance are advocated, which UKIP claims will simplify the tax system, although it is currently unclear what this flat tax rate would be set at. UKIP proposes "tens of billions" of cuts to taxation, along with a further £77bn of cuts to the public sector in order to reduce the deficit. The economic plans outlined by UKIP have been called into question by The Times, who have highlighted a “£120 billion black hole” in their spending plans.
According to the party website, UKIP proposes directing the majority of health care spending to elected County Health Boards, making spending decisions directly accountable to the public locally; as well as dramatically cutting the Department of Health and bringing in professional procurement skills to reduce what UKIP claims are the huge amounts of money wasted in procurement and resource allocation. In addition, UKIP proposes introducing a voucher system that will enable people to receive treatment outside of the NHS, replace non-clinical managers with matrons to run NHS hospitals and introduce free dental and eye checks.
UKIP advocates leaving the European Union, resulting in stopping payments to the EU and withdrawal from EU treaties, while maintaining trading ties with other European countries.
According to the British government the European single market brings between £30 billion to £90 billion into the British economy, it is unknown if Britain could negotiate a free trade agreement. The European trade commissioner Karel de Gucht told the BBC that Europe is "not a free lunch". Despite this Nigel Farage claims Britain can get a "simple free trade agreement", he does not refute that Britain would be forced to negotiate its own free trade agreements around the world and would lose out on the upcoming EU–US Free Trade Agreement or the EU–India Free Trade Agreement currently being negotiated.
UKIP says Britain could try to create a Commonwealth Free Trade Area to make up money lost by leaving the single market. As of May 2013[update], no Commonwealth country has indicated any interest in this idea. It is often noted that Britain trades more with Ireland than with all the leading developing counties combined (only one of which, India, is in the Commonwealth). Some of those opposed to a Brixit note that the British economy is most similar to other European economies as opposed to those in other countries.
European Court of Human Rights / Council of Europe
UKIP wants to repeal the Human Rights Act and thereby remove Britain from the European Court of Human Rights. The court is a Council of Europe institution and is not an institution of the European Union. Every country in Europe, from Greenland to Russia (aside from Belarus) subscribes to the court system. In the UK, European Court of Human Rights rulings have resulted in equality in the age of consent, removing Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 (that allowed police to search anyone without any reasonable suspicion), preventing the police creating a secret DNA database.
In addition, a withdrawal from both the European Convention on Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights is advocated by UKIP, to "enable us to deport foreign criminal and terrorist suspects where desirable" while still "allow[ing] genuine asylum applications in accordance with our international obligations".
UKIP's policies on immigration are currently under review but it has previously outlined a number of measures designed to reduce immigration into the UK. These include a five-year "freeze" on immigration for permanent settlement, the introduction of a points-based work-permit system and initiating a drive to remove illegal immigrants. In addition, UKIP proposes to allow EU citizens who have been domiciled in the UK for seven years to apply for citizenship. UKIP has been criticised for not having a "clear-cut" immigration policy.
In November 2012, David Coburn of UKIP's National Executive Committee clarified the party's policies and positions with regard to LGBT issues: the party supports civil partnerships but opposes legalisation of same-sex marriage because of concerns that a law change could mean that faith groups and places of worship would be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
House of Commons
Whilst UKIP has not won a seat in the House of Commons, the party has had representation (albeit for only a relatively short time) when Dr Bob Spink, MP for Castle Point, resigned from the Conservative Party and joined UKIP on 21 April 2008. However, by November 2008, Spink had left UKIP having found himself at odds with party colleagues on various issues. UKIP has no representation in the House of Commons currently.
House of Lords
On 24 June 1995, UKIP gained its first member of the House of Lords in the form of Richard Norton, 8th Baron Grantley, who had joined the party in 1993 from the Conservatives and had recently succeeded to his father's titles. However, with the coming House of Lords Act 1999, he decided not to stand for election as a continuing member, and so left the House in November 1999. Lords Pearson of Rannoch and Willoughby de Broke both defected to UKIP on 7 January 2007, giving the party its first representation in the House of Lords since Lord Grantley's departure. Lord Pearson went on to serve as party leader from November 2009 to September 2010. On 18 September 2012, David Stevens, Baron Stevens of Ludgate joined UKIP, having sat as an Independent Conservative since his expulsion from the Conservatives in 2004.
Northern Ireland Assembly
On 4 October 2012 UKIP gained its first representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly following the defection of David McNarry MLA for Strangford, who had been sitting as an independent, following his suspension from the Ulster Unionist Party.
Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament
UKIP do not currently have any representatives in the other devolved nations of Scotland or Wales. UKIP fielded candidates at the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May 2011, when its platform included a commitment to keep the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, while replacing the separately-elected Members of the Scottish Parliament with the Members of the House of Commons elected in Scotland. The party also fielded candidates for the Welsh Assembly.
In 1999, three UKIP members were elected to the European Parliament. Together with Eurosceptics from other countries, they formed a grouping called Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD).
In 2004, 37 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden founded a new European Parliamentary group called Independence and Democracy (ID) from the old EDD group. However, following the European Parliament election, 2009, where Eurosceptic parties from Denmark, Sweden and elsewhere lost all representation, the ID group was dissolved.
UKIP has since formed a new right-wing grouping called Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) comprising nationalist, Eurosceptic, conservative and other political factions. This group is more right wing than the older Independence and Democracy grouping.
UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire was expelled from UKIP after resigning from the EFD grouping, citing her displeasure at what she perceived to be racist and extremist parties that belong to the EFD Group. Sinclaire also cited the deterioration of her relationship with Farage, the co-leader of the EFD group.
Sinclaire was subsequently expelled from UKIP for refusing to be part of the EFD group. She later won a sex discrimination claim against her former colleagues, to which UKIP did not lodge a defence, and the ruling went against the party by default.
In February 2013 Marta Andreasen defected from UKIP to the Conservative Party. Two weeks prior to her defection Andreasen had accused Farage of bullying and being "anti-women" and "a Stalinist". She was UKIP's sole remaining female MEP after the 2009 expulsion of Nikki Sinclaire.
Current Members of the European Parliament
UKIP has 11 Members in the European Parliament. Trevor Colman has left the EFD grouping but still stands for UKIP. Roger Helmer was elected as a Conservative MEP but defected to UKIP in March 2012.
The first UKIP local council election win occurred when one of their members was elected to South Cambridgeshire District Council in 2000. A number of Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent local councillors in all four constituent nations of the UK have defected to UKIP over subsequent years, with the most recent defections to date (May 2013) coming from former Conservative councillors in Merton, South-West London. In the May 2012 local elections, UKIP won a total of 7 seats in England out of 2,414 (no change on the previous year), 2 seats in Wales out of 1,223 (up 1) and no seats in Scotland out of 1,220 (down 1). It failed to win any seats in the London Assembly, coming fifth overall with 4.5% of the vote. In November that year, it failed to win any contests in the England and Wales Police and Crime Commissioner elections. In May 2013, 33 English and one Welsh council held local elections, with UKIP gaining 139 seats for a total of 147, with significant gains in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Kent.
On 6 May 2011, the party won nine of the seventeen seats for Ramsey Town Council in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Before the election, the party had only one seat in the town council. On 12 May, UKIP councillor Lisa Duffy was elected as Mayor. The UKIP group leader for Huntingdonshire District Council said that the town council under UKIP would "be standing up for volunteers and the third sector and will be making grants to them to help the big society develop." The Daily Mail has claimed that UKIP "has made political history after taking control of its first council in the UK".[dated info]
In 2011, the British academics Matthew Goodwin, Robert Ford and David Cutts published a study that identified Euroscepticism as the main causal factor for voters supporting UKIP, with concern over immigration levels and distrust of the political establishment also featuring as important motives. The average UKIP voter was 55 years old, which is older than voters in others parties. There was no correlation between social class and likelihood of voting UKIP, although UKIP voters tended to feel more financially insecure than the average voter. The skilled working class were found to be slightly overrepresented amongst UKIP voters, and there was a higher likelihood that a UKIP voter had grown up in a conservative supporting household compared to the average voter.
In the same year, a study by Richard Whitaker and Philip Lynch of the University of Leicester based on polling data from YouGov concluded that "the balance of attitudinal explanations of UKIP support makes its voters distinct from those voting for far right parties". The authors found that voter support for UKIP correlated with concerns about the value of immigration, hostility to immigrants and a lack of trust in the political system but the biggest explanatory factor for their support of UKIP was Euroscepticism. A further study by the same authors suggests that UKIP voters' core beliefs align very closely to those of the UKIP candidates; particularly so on issues surrounding European integration, which has resulted in Conservative voters switching to UKIP due to divisions within the Conservatives over this issue.
In May 2013, Stephan Shakespeare, the CEO of YouGov analysed the reasons for the strong support and performance of UKIP in the 2013 local elections. He observed that voter research showed UKIP had "very loyal" followers, with a high proportion of ex-Conservative voters, and that the primary reason for support was a sense by voters that UKIP "seemed to be on the same wavelength" as the population, was perceived as "genuine" and "simply different", and by tapping into the "anti-politics mood" became contrasted strongly with "the others [who] haven't got a clue about the real world". He concluded that "you just don't get this [perception] with other party leaders, not even from their supporters". Noting also that 23% of voters reported giving "serious consideration" to voting UKIP, and that non-UKIP voters were "only half as likely to mention immigration or Europe" as existing UKIP voters, he also concluded that these potential voters were "best won" by providing a "broad agenda".
- Bruges Group (Eurosceptic thinktank)
- Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom
- Opinion polling for the next United Kingdom general election
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: UK Independence Party|
- Official website
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- UKIP's MEPs explain their aims