|Leader of the Democrats and Veterans|
Assumed office |
9 February 2018
|Preceded by||Position established|
April 1978 (age 40)|
UK Independence Party (2015-2017)|
Democrats and Veterans (2018)
John Rees-Evans (born April 1978) is a British politician, currently the leader of the Democrats and Veterans party. Previously he was associated with the UK Independence Party (UKIP); he contested its leadership in November 2016, coming third with 18.1% of the vote, and again in 2017, coming fourth.
Rees-Evans was born in Hampshire and educated overseas, including at the Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg. At the age of 19 he joined the British Army Reserve, of which he was a member for five years; this included a year training with the Parachute Regiment, from which he was discharged without completing training. He now lives in Penrhiwceiber with his family and has a professional background in business, particularly adventure tourism. He also has houses in the south of France and Bulgaria, and an interest in horses. Controversially, he once claimed that a "homosexual donkey" had tried to rape his horse. He clarified his statement, saying that "I was asked to respond to quite a bizarre statement ... and so I tried to give the only kind of answer I knew how to give because, frankly, I do not have any experience of homosexuality, or humans copulating with animals."
Rees-Evans declared his candidacy for UKIP leader on 24 October 2016. He has pledged to ensure the UK leaves the EU and that the government is reduced in size and function. He believes that the current political class in Westminster is out of touch with citizens, and pledged to make politics more transparent and open if elected UKIP leader.
Rees-Evans differed radically from the other candidates, advocating the introduction of direct democracy first within UKIP and then seeking to use it with intention to cause massive reform of the entire UK political system. He also supported capital punishment for child killers and sexual abusers of children, but only if the victims were "pre-pubescent" and looked under the age of 18 (the age of consent in the UK is 16 years), saying that 13-year-olds were "fair game for the current punishment". Rees-Evans has said that he opposes same-sex marriage.
He was the last remaining Faragist candidate in the race, which was won by the self-described "unity candidate" Paul Nuttall. He walked out of tightly-controlled hustings after being told "not to rock the boat", and then embarked on a nationwide tour of membership similar to that of Nigel Farage prior to the 2016 EU membership referendum. The late Sam Gould, former chairman of UKIP's Caerphilly branch, commented: "Policy-wise he is similar to Raheem. John is a gentleman and has done so much for UKIP, helping them produce party political broadcasts and has raised a lot of money for the party, too."
In August, Rees-Evans announced a proposal to offer £9,000 and health insurance to Britons with dual nationality, in return for them moving to countries where they have the right to settle. They would be required to start a business and trade with the UK. This would be to help achieve "negative net immigration towards one million a year", and would be funded by cutting the foreign aid budget. He was condemned by rivals Whittle and Collins; both Collins and Liberal Democrat MP Tom Brake compared the proposal to the BNP's manifesto.
He finished fourth in the 2017 UKIP leadership election. He later quit the party to form his own group, "Affinity".After quitting UKIP, Rees-Evans joined the Democrats and Veterans party instead of forming his own party and assumed leadership of the party.
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