Winston McKenzie

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Winston McKenzie
Personal details
Born (1953-10-23) 23 October 1953 (age 61)
Political party UKIP (2009–present)
Unity Party (2009)
Independent (2008–2009, 2005, 2003–2004)
Conservative (2006–2008)
Veritas (2005)
Liberal Democrats (2002–2003)
Labour (until 2001)
Relations Duke McKenzie (brother)
Clinton McKenzie (brother)

Winston Truman McKenzie (born 23 October 1953) is a British politician, perennial candidate for office and former boxer, notable for having joined every major political party and having stood as an Independent or minor party candidate on numerous occasions without success. He stood in the 2010 UK Independence Party (UKIP) leadership contest and was the UKIP candidate in the 2012 Croydon North by-election, where he came third with 5.7% of the vote. He served as UKIP's Commonwealth Spokesman from 2014 until 9th March, 2015.[1]


McKenzie was originally a middleweight boxer and was the All England National Amateur Boxing Champion, he is an older brother of boxer Duke McKenzie, and a younger brother of boxer Clinton McKenzie. He contended that after an underprivileged childhood, "boxing was my salvation".[2] However, his boxing career was cut short at the age of 23 by two detached retinas.[3]

He later worked as a hairdresser, a rug wholesaler, a letting agent and a garage mechanic. He also ran a pub in Parchmore Road, Thornton Heath, with his brothers. When the McKenzies bought the pub, it had "a notorious a 'battleground' rife with gangsters and drug pushers until the brothers took over."[4] They opened it as the McKenzie Bros Bar & Grill, but it was threatened with removal of its licence in July 2001 "after being caught several times by police serving alcohol after hours."[4] It finally closed down in December 2002, after a single police raid resulted in 25 people on the premises all being charged with various drugs and firearms offences. The pub was boarded up after the raid, and in January 2003, Winston McKenzie confirmed it would not be reopening. The building has subsequently been demolished.[5][6] In 2005, he unsuccessfully auditioned for The X Factor.[7] He is now a youth worker.

Political career[edit]

Labour, Lib Dems and Independent[edit]

McKenzie first joined the Labour Party in the 1980s.[8] In 2002, he joined the Liberal Democrats and, in February 2003, was quoted in the press as saying "I'm still very involved with the Liberal Democrats and have every intention of standing for MP in the next election."[5] Seven months later, by the September 2003 Brent East by-election, he had left the Liberal Democrats and he stood as an Independent candidate, on a slogan of "The black voice for Great Britain" and a platform to "shut all gates of entry to immigrants and asylum seekers" (with the USA being asked to take on Britain's immigrants in exchange for Britain's support in the Iraq War), and increasing sports facilities for young people. He also opposed university tuition fees on the grounds that young people should be able "to enjoy the privileges of childhood."[9] He polled 197 votes (0.94%), coming seventh out of 16 candidates.[10]

Veritas, Independent and Veritas again[edit]

In 2005, McKenzie joined the newly formed Veritas party, calling for "a blanket ban on immigration and asylum for one year",[11] and becoming its principal spokesman on sport.[8] In the 2005 general election, he stood for Veritas in Croydon North, coming seventh of nine candidates with 324 votes (0.7%). After the election, he attacked party leader Robert Kilroy-Silk, whom he publicly blamed for his defeat, lost deposit and other financial losses as a result of his campaign.[12] He resigned from Veritas two weeks after the 2005 election (and three months after originally joining), before then rejoining Veritas when Kilroy-Silk stepped down as leader, so that he could stand for leader of Veritas. He came third out of three candidates, polling 168 votes (14.4%).[13] In between his two short memberships of Veritas, he stood in the 16 June 2005 Fieldway by-election to Croydon Council as an Independent. He came fourth of five candidates, polling 47 votes (2.47%) and beating only the candidate for the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.[13][14]

2008 London Mayoral candidacy - Conservative and Independent[edit]

After the local press reported his 2004 "inaugural Croydon youth games ended in farce [in] October after many events were cancelled at short notice",[11] he had accused the local Conservative council of being "racist" in failing to support the endeavour.[13] However, in November 2006 he joined the Conservative party, announcing his intention to be the next Mayor of London. He stood in 2007 for the Conservative party's nomination, but failed to attract enough support to make the shortlist. He then left the Conservative Party by the end of the year and stood in the 2008 Mayoral election as an independent candidate, under the slogans "I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee; I've got the policies they can't see" and "They said it couldn't be done".[2] He came last of the 10 candidates, polling 5,389 votes (0.22%).[3]

Unity Party[edit]

In March 2009, McKenzie founded the Unity Party and announced he would be the Unity Party candidate for Croydon Central at the next UK general election.[15] In October 2009, McKenzie reported that Unity had folded as a party because of the withdrawal of its main financial backer.[16]

UK Independence Party[edit]

2009 leadership election and 2010 general election[edit]

In September 2009, he joined the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and immediately announced he was a candidate in their leadership election to succeed Nigel Farage. However, as he was still the leader of the Unity Party, he was barred from standing in the leadership election.[17] In February 2010, McKenzie was adopted as UKIP's candidate for Tottenham.[18] In the 2010 general election he came sixth of 10 candidates in Tottenham, polling 466 votes (1.1%).[19]

2010 leadership election[edit]

In September 2010, McKenzie stood again for leader of UKIP, after Lord Pearson of Rannoch resigned.[20] He came last of the four candidates, with 530 votes cast (5.3%).[21]

2011 London mayoral election[edit]

In May 2011, Mckenzie confirmed that he was again seeking to be Mayor of London, this time seeking the UKIP nomination - he told UKIP paper The Voice: "The rumours are true. I am definitely looking to be nominated as a candidate."[22] There were five other candidates for the UKIP nomination: David Coburn, Michael Corby, Mick McGough, Paul Oakley and Lawrence Webb. In a ballot of members in August, 2011 McKenzie came joint third with Mick McGough, both on 7.4%, behind winner Lawrence Webb, who won with 42%, and David Coburn on 29%.[23]

2012 local election[edit]

In January 2012, UKIP announced that it had selected McKenzie as candidate for the Croydon and Sutton seat in the 2012 elections to the Greater London Assembly.[23] At the pre-election hustings in Croydon, a local newspaper reported that "he provided the audience with some welcome, but not always intentional, comic relief". When the issue of the building of a new waste incinerator was raised he announced "To be honest, ref, I'm not too hot on this issue", and the paper noted that he did not have "the first clue about the incinerator debate" and had a "lack of policies". He also bizarrely stated: "A couple of people in the audience to-night, I can see your faces. I owe you money... You know where to find me."[24] In the election, he polled 10,757 votes (6.99%) across the boroughs of Croydon and Sutton, an increase of 1.6% on the UKIP vote in 2008, coming fourth of five candidates.[25]

2012 Croydon North by-election[edit]

In October 2012, he was announced as the UKIP candidate for the Croydon North by-election. On 27 November 2012, McKenzie gave two interviews to the Croydon Advertiser and the London Metro which were subsequently repeated in the local[26][27][28][29] and national[30][31] press, in which he was reported to have commented that adoption by same-sex couples constitutes "child abuse", and asked the interviewer, "If you couldn't look after your child and you had to put them up for adoption, would you honestly want your child to be adopted by a gay couple? Would you seriously want that or a heterosexual family? Which would be more healthy for the child? A caring loving home is a heterosexual or single family. I don't believe [a same-sex couple] is healthy for a child."[30] The comments were condemned by Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall, as "inflammatory",[30] while UKIP distanced itself from the comments.[27] The original Croydon Advertiser interview also described as "a bizarre rant" McKenzie's related comments about people who "pretend" to be gay: "Some people take on being gay as a sort of fashion. Celebrities come out to become more well known, it gets attention. It's a fact of life that some people actually are gay. They are what they are. They can't help it but the other bunch take on being gay as a fashion and push it because they have nothing better to do with their lives. They let the side down."[26] The subsequent Metro interview, held to clarify McKenzie's earlier remarks, quoted him as elaborating: "To say to a child, 'I am having you adopted by two men who kiss regularly but don't worry about it' – that is abuse. It is a violation of a child’s human rights because that child has no opportunity to grow up under normal circumstances."[29]

In the subsequent Croydon North by-election, McKenzie came third with 5.7% of the vote. He also retained his deposit for the first time in his political career.[23]

2014 local election[edit]

In campaigning for the 2014 local and European elections, a UKIP event organised in Croydon was picketed by protestors angry at Farage's recent comments on Romanian immigrants and bearing a placard reading "We Are Romanians". McKenzie said that the protesters had "diminished the meaning of racism.... They've taken away the meaning of racism, which is a very potent subject."[32] A steel band had been booked to play at the event but pulled out when they learnt that it was a UKIP event.[32] Farage had been due to attend but did not arrive, with McKenzie informing reporters that "He's a responsible family man and political party leader. Certain situations you have to avoid," before adding that "Croydon is unsafe and a dump."[32] He was not elected to Croydon council.[33]

2015 general election[edit]

McKenzie is the UKIP candidate for Croydon North in the 2015 general election. He had previously been Chairman of the Lambeth and Croydon North branch of UKIP, but was suspended on 19 December 2014 after "months of infighting" and accusations that he had misappropriated donations.[34]

In March 2015, UKIP removed McKenzie from his position as Commonwealth Spokesman for the party.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Asked to name his proudest achievements, McKenzie said, "Of all the things in life that one could possibly achieve, I guess I am proud of the honour, dignity and self-respect that I have earned throughout the years through boxing, politics and the love of my former wife, Cheryl."[35]

Electoral record of Winston McKenzie[edit]

United Kingdom local elections, 2014, South Norwood Ward, London Borough of Croydon, 22 May 2014[36]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Kathy Bee 2,303 +4.8
Labour Jane Avis 2,211 +2.3
Labour Wayne James Patrick Lawlor 1,971 +3.0
Conservative Jonathan Thomas Ewan Cope 909 -6.9
Conservative Matthew Edward O'Flynn 739 -6.2
Conservative Rosina Rachel Mat St. James 731 -6.0
Green Graham Ronald Geoffrey Jones 494 +5.6
Green Andrew Howard Ellis 486 -0.2
UKIP Winston T. McKenzie 480 +6.8
UKIP Anette Reid 437
UKIP Barry Slayford 437
Green James Anthony Seyforth 359 +2.9
Liberal Democrat Robert James Brown 314 -11.6
Liberal Democrat Kimberley Erica Sarah Reid 220 -12.7
Liberal Democrat Jonathan Douglas Regan 177 -13.7
Majority 1,042
Turnout 28.0
Labour hold Swing
Croydon North by-election, 30 November 2012
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Steve Reed 15,892 64.7 +8.7
Conservative Andrew Stranack 4,137 16.8 -7.3
UKIP Winston T. McKenzie 1,400 5.7 +4.0
Liberal Democrat Marisha Ray 860 3.5 -10.5
Green Shasha Khan 855 3.5 +1.5
Respect Lee Jasper 707 2.9 +2.4
Christian Peoples Stephen Hammond 192 0.8 N/A
National Front Richard Edmonds 161 0.7 N/A
Communist Ben Stevenson 119 0.5 +0.2
Monster Raving Loony John Cartwright 110 0.4 N/A
Nine Eleven Was An Inside Job Simon Lane 66 0.3 N/A
Young People's Party Robin Smith 63 0.3 N/A
Rejected ballots
Turnout 26.53%
Labour hold Swing
London Assembly election, 3 May 2012: Croydon and Sutton[37]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Conservative Steve O'Connell 60,152 39.1 -4.2
Labour Louisa Woodley 50,734 33.0 +13.8
Liberal Democrat Abigail Lock 21,889 14.2 -4.1
UKIP Winston T. McKenzie 10,757 7.0 +1.6
Green Gordon Ross 10,287 6.7 +1.6
Majority 9,418 6.1 -18.0
Total formal votes 153,819 98.6
Informal votes 2,165 1.4
Turnout 155,984 35.7 -13.3
UK Independence Party leadership election, 5 November 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
UKIP Nigel Farage 6,085 60.5 N/A
UKIP Tim Congdon 2,037 20.2 N/A
UKIP David Campbell-Bannerman 1,404 14.0 N/A
UKIP Winston T. McKenzie 530 5.3 N/A
Majority 4,048 40.3 N/A
Turnout 10,056 62% +1%
UKIP hold Swing
General Election, 6 May 2010: Tottenham[38]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour David Lammy 24,128 59.3 +1.4
Liberal Democrat David Schmitz 7,197 17.7 +0.9
Conservative Sean Sullivan 6,064 14.9 +1.4
TUSC Jenny Sutton 1,057 2.6 N/A
Green Anne Gray 980 2.4 -2.2
UKIP Winston T. McKenzie 466 1.1 N/A
Independent People Together Neville Watson 265 0.7 N/A
Christian Abimbola Kadara 262 0.6 N/A
Independent Sheik Thompson 143 0.4 N/A
Independent Errol Carr 125 0.3 N/A
Majority 16,931 41.6 +0.5
Turnout 40,687 58.2 +10.4
Labour hold Swing +0.2
Summary of the 1 May 2008 Mayor of London election results
Name Party 1st Preference Votes  % 2nd Preference Votes  % Final  %
Boris Johnson Conservative 1,043,761 43.2 (+14.1) 257,292 12.9 1,168,738 53.2 (+8.6)
Ken Livingstone Labour 893,877 37.0 (+0.2) 303,198 15.1 1,028,966 46.8 (-8.6)
Brian Paddick Liberal Democrat 236,685 9.8 (-5.5) 641,412 32.0 N/A
Siân Berry Green 77,374 3.2 (+0.1) 331,727 16.6 N/A
Richard Barnbrook British National Party 69,710 2.9 (-0.2) 128,609 6.4 N/A
Alan Craig Christian Peoples Alliance 39,249 1.6 (-0.6) 80,140 4.0 N/A
Gerard Batten UKIP 22,422 0.9 (-5.3) 113,651 5.7 N/A
Lindsey German Left List 16,796 0.7 35,057 1.7 N/A
Matt O'Connor (withdrew from contest) English Democrats 10,695 0.4 73,538 3.7 N/A
Winston T. McKenzie Independent 5,389 0.2 38,854 1.9 N/A
Veritas leadership election, 15 September 2005
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Veritas Patrick Eston 610 52.2 N/A
Veritas Colin Brown 390 33.4 N/A
Veritas Winston T. McKenzie 168 14.4 N/A
Majority 220 18.8 N/A
Turnout 1,168 Unknown Unknown
Veritas hold Swing
Fieldway Ward By-Election, London Borough of Croydon, 16 June 2005[36]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Simon A. Hall 993 52.4 -13.0
Conservative Anthony Pearson 714 37.6 +3.0
Liberal Democrat Simon E. Hargrave 136 7.2 +7.2
Independent Winston T. McKenzie 47 2.5 +2.5
Monster Raving Loony John S. Cartwright 6 0.3 +0.3
Majority 279 14.8
Turnout 1,896 28.0
Labour hold Swing
General Election, 5 May 2005: Croydon North[39]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Labour Malcolm Wicks 23,555 53.7 −9.8
Conservative Tariq Ahmad 9,667 22.0 −1.3
Liberal Democrat Adrian Gee-Turner 7,590 17.2 +6.8
Green Shasha Khan 1,248 2.8 N/A
UKIP Henry Pearce 770 1.8 +0.4
Croydon Pensions Alliance Peter Gibson 394 0.9 N/A
Veritas Winston T. McKenzie 324 0.7 N/A
Independent Farhan Rasheed 197 0.4 N/A
The People's Choice Michelle Chambers 132 0.3 N/A
Majority 13,888 31.7
Turnout 43,877 52.3 −0.9
Labour hold Swing −4.3
Brent East by-election, 18 September 2003
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather 8,158 39.12 +28.5
Labour Robert Evans 7,040 33.76 –29.4
Conservative Uma Fernandes 3,368 16.15 –2.0
Green Noel Lynch 638 3.06 –1.6
Socialist Alliance Brian Butterworth 361 1.73 N/A
Public Services Not War Fawzi Ibrahim 219 1.05 N/A
Independent Winston T. McKenzie 197 0.94 N/A
Independent Kelly McBride 189 0.91 N/A
Independent Harold Immanuel 188 0.9 N/A
UKIP Brian Hall 140 0.67 0.1
Socialist Labour Iris Cremer 111 0.53 –0.8
Independent Neil Walsh 101 0.48 N/A
Monster Raving Loony Alan Hope 59 0.28 N/A
No label Aaron Barschak 37 0.18 N/A
No label Jitendra Bardwaj 35 0.17 N/A Rainbow George Weiss 11 0.05 N/A
Majority 1,118 5.36
Turnout 20,752 36.2 –15.7
Liberal Democrat gain from Labour Swing +29.0


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  2. ^ a b "Winston Mckenzie 4 Mayor". Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Profile: Winston McKenzie". BBC News. 1 April 2008. 
  4. ^ a b "Boxing brothers fight to keep pub". Croydon Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Patrick Bruce (19 February 2003). "Boxing brothers call time on troubled pub". Croydon Guardian. 
  6. ^ "McKenzie bar closes". Croydon Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  7. ^ "McKenzie is shown the door". Croydon Guardian. 10 June 2005. 
  8. ^ a b "London - London Local - ‘I'll knock out the opposition’". BBC. 31 March 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  9. ^ "mckenzie". 2003-09-18. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  10. ^ "Brent East 2003". Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  11. ^ a b "New Veritas party call on McKenzie". Croydon Guardian. 9 February 2005. 
  12. ^ "McKenzie: I lost thousands in Veritas fiasco". Croydon guardian. 18 May 2005. 
  13. ^ a b c Anonymous (8 November 2006). "CroydonLife: X Factor reject (and Croydonian) wants to be Tory mayoral candidate". Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "Official Monster Raving Loony Party: Croydon Branch". Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "Winston McKenzie launches Unity party push with American pickup". Croydon Guardian. 2 June 2009. Retrieved 28 February 2010. 
  16. ^ Lidbetter, Ross (21 October 2009). "South Norwood ex-boxer closes down political party". This Is Croydon Today. Retrieved 28 February 2010. 
  17. ^ "Junius on UKIP: UKIP leadership election: Winston McKenzie may be forced to stand down". 20 October 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  18. ^ Pears, Elizabeth (3 February 2010). "Haringey Elections 2010: UKIP candidate launches his campaign for Tottenham seat". Harringey Independent. Retrieved 28 February 2010. 
  19. ^ "Election 2010 | Constituency | Tottenham". BBC News. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  20. ^ Hawkins, Ross (3 September 2010). "BBC News - UKIP considers leadership hopefuls". Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "Nigel back as UKIP Leader". 5 November 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  22. ^ The Voice, 20 May 2011.
  23. ^ a b c "Lawrence Webb unveiled as UKIP's mayoral candidate". BBC News. 5 September 2011. 
  24. ^ Advertiser, Friday, 27 April 2012.
  25. ^ "Results for the Croydon and Sutton assembly seat". 6 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  26. ^ a b "UKIP candidate for Croydon North says gay people should not be allowed to adopt". 27 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  27. ^ a b "UKIP election candidate criticised for call to ban gay fostering". 27 November 2012. Retrieved 2013-05-03. 
  28. ^ Key 103 Manchester, UKIP member says gay adoption is "child abuse"[dead link]
  29. ^ a b Higginson, John (26 November 2012). "Culture spokesman for UKIP says gay adoption is 'child abuse'". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  30. ^ a b c Ben Quinn (27 November 2012). "UKIP by-election candidate calls gay adoption 'child abuse'". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  31. ^ Patrick, Joseph. "UKIP Culture Spokesman: Same-sex adoption is 'child abuse'". Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  32. ^ a b c "Street rows force Nigel Farage no-show". BBC News Online. 20 May 2014. 
  33. ^ "Ukip's Winston McKenzie Fails In Croydon Election Bid After Calling Area ‘A Dump'", Huffington Post UK, 23 May 2014.
  34. ^ Gareth Davies (19 December 2014). "Ukip suspend Winston McKenzie as chairman of Lambeth & Croydon North branch". Croydon Advertiser. Retrieved 20 December 2014. 
  35. ^ "Interview with Winston McKenzie". 24 April 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  36. ^ a b "London Borough of Croydon election results, 2014". Croydon Council. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ Tottenham UKPolling
  39. ^ UK general election 2005 - Results for Croydon North Electoral Commission

External links[edit]