|Leader of the UK Independence Party|
|Assumed office |
14 April 2018
Acting: 17 February 2018 – 14 April 2018
|Preceded by||Henry Bolton|
|UKIP Spokesperson for Exiting the European Union|
|Assumed office |
29 November 2016[a]
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Member of the European Parliament|
|Assumed office |
10 June 2004
|Preceded by||Nicholas Bethell|
|Born||Gerard Joseph Batten|
27 March 1954
Harold Hill, Essex, England
|Political party||UK Independence Party (1993–present)|
Frances Cayaban (m. 1988)
Parliament website a. ^ Batten briefly resigned as Brexit spokesman in January 2018 citing opposition to the leadership of Henry Bolton. Following Bolton's removal by the party in February 2018, Batten was appointed as acting Party Leader. He continued in his previous role as UKIP's Spokesman on Exiting the EU.
Gerard Joseph Batten (born 27 March 1954) is a British politician who has been the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) since February 2018. He is a Member of the European Parliament representing the European parliamentary constituency of London.
Batten was a member of the Anti-Federalist League, an early Eurosceptic cross-party political alliance from 1992-93. He was one of the founding members of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in 1993, and was its first General Secretary from 1994-97. He has been a member of UKIP's National Executive Committee several times.
Batten was first elected as a Member of the European Parliament in the 2004 European Parliamentary Election for the London constituency on the basis of seeking the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.
During his first term of office Batten served as a member of the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Security and Defence (from July 2004), and was appointed as UKIP's official spokesman on Security and Defence. In this role, he attacked the-then Labour government's plans to introduce identity cards. He has been an opponent of the European Arrest Warrant.
In 2017, in response to the Irish Government's intervention in the Brexit negotiations, Batten expressed the view that Ireland is "a tiny country that relies on UK for its existence". The same year he described Islam as a "death cult" over its 1,400 year history.
In April 2006, Batten stated that a London constituent and former FSB agent, Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Litvinenko, had been told that Romano Prodi, Italian Prime Minister and former President of the European Commission, had been the KGB's "man in Italy"; Batten demanded an inquiry into the allegations.
He told the European Parliament that Litvinenko had been warned by FSB deputy chief General Anatoly Trofimov that there were numerous KGB agents among Italian politicians, and that "Romano Prodi is our man in Italy". According to the Brussels-based EU Reporter on 3 April 2006, "another high-level source, a former KGB operative in London, has confirmed the story".
On 26 April 2006, Batten repeated his call for a parliamentary inquiry, stating that: "Former, senior members of the KGB are willing to testify in such an investigation, under the right conditions... It is not acceptable that this situation is unresolved, given the importance of Russia's relations with the European Union." Lt.-Col. Litvinenko was admitted to hospital with suspected poisoning on 11 November 2006 after eating at a London restaurant, and died on 23 November 2006. The police later concluded he had been poisoned with polonium; a small dose of which is lethal. Anatoly Trofimov was assassinated by unknown gunmen in April 2005.
The European Union, Ireland and Brexit
In a 2013 interview with openDemocracy, Batten argued that the European Union was inspired by the proposals the Nazis developed in 1942 for Europe after they had won the Second World War, claiming they were very similar to the 1957 Treaty of Rome.
In 2017, in response to the Irish Government's intervention in the Brexit negotiations, Batten expressed the view on Twitter that Ireland, "a tiny country that relies on UK for its existence", is "the weakest kid in the playground sucking up to the EU bullies". He advocated the revocation of the Common Travel Area between Ireland and the UK. Ireland's Foreign Minister, Simon Coveney, rejected Batten's claims: "Ireland is not threatening anybody, least of all a friend, but we remain resolute in our insistence on a sensible way through Brexit that protects Ireland". A UKIP spokesman said Batten's comments do not reflect party policy.
Views of multiculturalism and Islam
Batten invited the Dutch Party for Freedom leader and MEP Geert Wilders to the European Parliament in December 2008, in an unsuccessful attempt to screen Wilders' film Fitna for MEPs. According to Batten in Freedom Today, Wilders "is a brave man trying to defend western civilisation in the face of its own loss of the most basic instinct of self-preservation". When Wilders was refused entry to the UK at Heathrow Airport in 2009, following an invitation from the UKIP peer Lord Pearson for Wilders to screen his film to members of the House of Lords, Batten said: "We can't do anything about murderers, rapists and paedophiles coming from the EU but they will stop a democratically elected politician from the EU talking about the sources of terrorism". In a 2010 video, Batten said that no further mosques should be built in our cities, and thought the existence of "two incompatible systems living in the same place at the same time" was a threat.
In 2011, Batten circulated a draft four-page document entitled "Confidential draft – Dismantling Multiculturalism" to Christian Concern, a lobby group. He wrote: "Islamic fundamentalism is the cuckoo in the western multicultural nest. We can either address it now or be destroyed by it in the course of time". The document advocates repealing "the act of parliament that gives exception for ritual slaughter for religious reasons" and any law which "gives official recognition to Islamic banking". The Treasury told The Guardian that no UK legislation mentions any such financial service. When asked about the document in 2014, Batten called it "a rough draft which I would like to publish in due course but it's not one of my priorities at the moment. You can't hold me to anything in it".
Batten commissioned a document from Sam Solomon, which was first published in 2006; it amounts to a proposed code of conduct, including the rejection of passages in the Qur'an that propose "violent physical Jihad", and that should be considered "inapplicable, invalid and non-Islamic". Explaining why Muslims should sign up to such a document, he told The Guardian's Rowena Mason in February 2014: "Christians aren't blowing people up at the moment, are they?"
On 22 January 2018, Batten resigned as UKIP's Brexit spokesman in protest at the party leadership of Henry Bolton; in the process he publicly called for Bolton to stand down from the office, amidst general dissatisfaction amongst a substantial portion of the party's membership with him, collapsing membership levels, and ongoing media coverage of Bolton's personal life. Bolton was officially dismissed as party leader on 17 February 2018, after an Extraordinary General Meeting vote by the party membership, and Batten was announced as the Party Leader (on an interim basis) until the conclusion of the next leadership election.
During Batten's initial interim leadership term, the party was saved from insolvency and put back on a sound financial footing after an appeal to members raised almost £300,000. The party was also able to pay an outstanding legal bill. In addition, UKIP also saw its first significant membership rise in two years, with over 900 members joining during this time period.
On 14 April 2018, Gerard Batten was elected unopposed as the Leader of UKIP. In a statement issued upon his appointment as Leader he said: "I received the backing of all three UKIP Lords, our major donors, our MEPs, our London and Welsh Assembly Members, and party activists and members from all over the UK".
Under Batten, UKIP witnessed a resurgence in support during his first six months as Leader. Opinion Polls showed UKIP back between six and eight percent of the vote - with one (YouGov) revealing that almost a quarter of 2017 Conservative voters (23%) now considered UKIP to be the best party to handle Brexit, this was almost double the figure it had been in previous polling. Likewise, the proportion of 2017 Conservative voters who think that UKIP would be the best party to handle asylum and immigration had risen from 16% to 28% over the same time period.
In addition to good polling, UKIP also saw its membership numbers rise further and reportedly by 15% during the month of July Alone, with thousands of new activists joining the ranks of the party. Many of the new members cited Batten's Leadership and the perceived mismanagement of Britain's EU Exit by the Conservative Government as major factors in their joining.
In popular culture
In 2018, Batten was featured in the Channel 4 documentary Carry on Brussels: Inside the EU. A reviewer from The Guardian said the high point of the programme was the scene in which he left the European Parliament chamber, complaining of being censored because his microphone had been cut off, after he had overrun the allocated time for speeches.
|Liberal Democrat||Ian Sanderson||1,413||2.9||−9.1|
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- UKIP opposition to identity cards Archived 26 August 2004 at the Wayback Machine.[dead link]
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gerard Batten.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Gerard Batten|
- Official website
- Profile on European Parliament website
- Islamic fundamentalism is incompatible with freedom and Western liberal democracy, by Gerard Batten, Freedom Today, November/December 2006
- Video Interview with Gerard Batten MEP Video Interview made on 16 February 2010
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the UK Independence Party