John Rees-Evans

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John Rees-Evans
Rees-Evans being interviewed in 2015 on his plans for leadership of the Independence Party
Leader of the Five Star Direct Democracy Party
Assumed office
9 February 2018
Preceded byPosition established
Personal details
BornApril 1978 (age 44)
Hampshire, England
Political partyUK Independence Party (2015–2017)
Five Star Direct Democracy Party (2018–present)[1]

John Rees-Evans (born April 1978) is a British politician who is currently the leader of the Five Star Direct Democracy Party. He was associated with the UK Independence Party (UKIP) from 2015 to 2017, contesting their leadership in November 2016, coming third with 18.1% of the vote, and again in 2017, coming fourth.

Personal life[edit]

Rees-Evans was born in Hampshire and educated both in the UK and overseas, including at the Jeppe High School for Boys in Johannesburg. He has a professional background in business, particularly in physical commodities dealing and adventure tourism.[2]


Rees-Evans claims his family have been pro-equality campaigners for several centuries, citing the life of William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield, (the younger brother of Rees-Evans' six times great grandfather) who, controversially in the 18th century, adopted Dido, the illegitimate daughter of an African slave, educating her, raising her as his own daughter, having her live with the family for thirty years at Kenwood House and making her an heir; and Hugh Lewin, the nephew of Rees-Evans' great grandfather and an anti-apartheid activist campaigner and friend of Nelson Mandela. Hugh was imprisoned for 7 years, convicted on similar charges to Mandela.


Controversially, Rees-Evans once responded to the question as to whether he defended the claim made by another UK Independence campaigner, Julia Gasper, that homosexuals enjoyed physical congress with animals, by claiming that he had seen evidence of this. The evidence that he cited was of a "homosexual donkey" trying to rape his horse.[3][4]

Since it is sometimes said in South Wales that a donkey would be elected to Parliament at a General Election if it wore a red rosette (a reference to the concept of tribal voting), and since the incumbent Member of Parliament in the seat he was contesting is homosexual, Rees-Evans was accused of "dog whistle politics" by giving this response. However, Rees-Evans denied that he was referencing any individual, and claimed he was simply answering the question literally and that the questioner didn't specify that he was talking about homosexual humans; clarifying his response by saying "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."[5]

The donkey to which Rees-Evans referred was subsequently identified as "Marcello". Ownership of the donkey has not been established and it is known to be shared by a number of villagers. The donkey is thought by at least one villager who has looked after it for several weeks, not to be homosexual but at times to experience difficulty identifying the gender of other equines. It is noted that Rees-Evans' stallion was exceptionally well groomed when compared with the standards to which Marcello was accustomed, and that this fact may have contributed towards the confusion.

Political career[edit]

He contested the seat of Cardiff South and Penarth in the 2015 general election, receiving 13.8% of the vote, with a swing of 11.2% to UKIP.

Rees-Evans declared his candidacy for UKIP leader on 24 October 2016.[6] 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.[4]

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.[7] 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".[8] Rees-Evans has said that he opposes same-sex marriage.[9]

He was the last remaining Faragist candidate in the race,[10] which was won by the self-described "unity candidate" Paul Nuttall.[11] 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."[10]

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, or could obtain the right, to settle. They would be required to start a business and trade with the UK, exporting products that the UK did not manufacture. This would be to help achieve "negative net immigration towards one million a year", reduce UK living costs post-Brexit, and would initially 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, however, when interviewed by Asian Voice, Rees-Evans explained that the initiative was inspired by the decision of his father in the late 1970's to leave the UK to start a business in Africa, that there was nothing in his original comments that in any way alluded to the race of prospective candidates, and that this inference was manufactured without justification by his political opponents.[12][13][14]

He finished fourth in the 2017 UKIP leadership election. He later quit the party to form his own group, "Affinity".[15] After quitting UKIP, Rees-Evans founded the Democrats and Veterans party and was elected the leader of the party. The party has since been renamed the 5 Star Direct Democracy Party.


  1. ^ "Army vets on march with new party". Daily Star. 21 January 2018. Retrieved 22 February 2018.
  2. ^ "About John Rees-Evans". John Rees-Evans for Leader. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  3. ^ Dearden, Lizzie (22 December 2014). "Ukip Leadership Candidate Admits Mistake Of Claiming 'Gay Donkey Raped His Horse'". The Independent.
  4. ^ a b Simons, Ned (24 October 2016). "Ukip Leadership Candidate Admits Mistake Of Claiming 'Gay Donkey Raped His Horse'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  5. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (22 December 2014). "Gay donkey rapists and other oddities: how Ukip keeps going off-message". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  6. ^ "UKIP leadership: John Rees-Evans declares". BBC News. 24 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  7. ^ Mance, Henry (31 October 2016). "Favourite to be Ukip leader suggests referendum on capital punishment". The Financial Times.
  8. ^ Demianyk, Graeme (1 November 2016). "Ukip Leadership Candidate Wants Death Penalty For Paedophiles — Unless Victim 'Looks 18'". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  9. ^ "UKIP leadership hopefuls includes 3 LGBT people and 2 anti-LGBT candidates". Pink News. 11 August 2017.
  10. ^ a b "UKIP leadership latest – John Rees-Evans walks out of hustings event". 3 November 2016.
  11. ^ Fisher, Lucy (30 November 2016). "Farage's old foe gets seat at top table". The Times.
  12. ^ "Ukip politicians condemn leadership candidate's '£9,000 to leave UK' idea". The Guardian. 18 August 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  13. ^ Maguire, Patrick (19 August 2017). "Pay British Indians to go home, says Ukip leadership hopeful John Rees-Evans". The Times. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  14. ^ "UKIP leadership candidate wants to pay British Indians to leave the UK to cut 'unnecessary population' – Business Insider Nordic". 18 August 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  15. ^ "John Rees-Evans quits UKIP to form new party". BBC News. 3 October 2017.

Further reading[edit]