Richard Braine (politician)

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Richard Braine
Leader of the UK Independence Party
In office
10 August 2019 – 30 October 2019
Disputed: from 12 October
DeputyVacant
ChairmanKirstan Herriot
Preceded byGerard Batten
Succeeded byVacant
Personal details
Born
Richard William Maguire Braine

April 1968 (age 51)
Chelsea, London, England
Political partyUK Independence Party (suspended)
Other political
affiliations
Referendum Party
ResidenceChelsea, London, England
EducationEton College
Alma materKing's College London
Websitewww.braine.com

Richard William Maguire Braine (born April 1968) is a British politician, software developer and photographer who was leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) between 10 August 2019 and 30 October 2019.

Early life[edit]

Born in London in April 1968,[1][2] Braine was educated at Eton College,[3][4] and graduated with a BSc in Physics and Philosophy from King's College London.[5]

Since 1994, Braine has worked as a software developer and a designer, and has run a photography business based in London. He founded Cyberphotographer, a web-based event photography service, in 1999.[5] Customers have included Cable & Wireless, Carlton Television, Channel 5, Ernst & Young, Eurosport, Hugo Boss, Jardine Lloyd Thompson, J.P. Morgan, Lastminute.com, Microsoft Corporation, MTV, PlayStation, Puma, The Times and Time magazine.[6]

Political career[edit]

Braine was a campaigner for the Referendum Party in the 1990s, and since the party's demise in 1997 has supported UKIP. During the 2016 EU referendum, Braine served as a borough manager for pro-Brexit organisations Vote Leave and Grassroots Out (GO) in Kensington and Chelsea, leading a group of ninety volunteers.[5]

In the 2017 general election, Braine was the UKIP candidate for the constituency of Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. He came last of five, with 2.2 percent of the vote.[7]

Braine has stood as a UKIP candidate in local elections, general elections and was the second candidate on the London constituency list for the 2019 European Parliament elections, behind Gerard Batten, the party's former leader.[5][8]

Leader of UKIP[edit]

Election as leader[edit]

On 10 August 2019, Braine was elected as the leader of UKIP, receiving 53% of the vote. He was endorsed by former UKIP leader Gerard Batten after the National Executive Committee prohibited Batten from standing.[3][9] He became the first Old Etonian to lead UKIP since Lord Pearson of Rannoch.

A few days after he won the leadership, video footage from 2019 emerged of him arguing the legality of publicly distributing the Qur'an in the UK and that some British towns are no-go areas for non-Muslims. He also referred to the jailed activist Tommy Robinson as a "political prisoner".

2019 party conference[edit]

Braine refused to attend UKIP's annual party conference in September 2019, in protest at the UKIP National Executive Committee's decision to no longer regard Gerard Batten as a member of the party "in good standing". He wrote: “I have made clear to the chairman and NEC that I would not attend unless something drastic was done to increase ticket sales, namely returning Gerard Batten to good standing to heal the rift with the many members who are boycotting conference for that reason”.[10]

UKIP's party chairman, Kirstan Herriott, commented: "Both I and the NEC believe it is a complete insult to the membership to attempt to cancel conference because of a potentially low turn-out...it is also a particular affront to hard-working regional, county and branch officers who have worked hard in encouraging members to attend conference to hear Richard lay out his vision for the future of UKIP."[11]

Neil Hamilton commented on Braine's refusal to attend the conference held in Newport, Wales, saying: "This would have been a great opportunity for him to make himself known in Wales and he has turned it down for a totally spurious reason", and that Braine "is a novice and he has only been involved in politics a couple of years, he is almost completely unknown".[11]

Suspension from Party and resignation[edit]

In October 2019, Braine was suspended from UKIP after being accused of stealing data from the party, along with three other members: Jeff Armstrong, Mark Dent and Tony Sharp. All four members were reported to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.[12] Braine resigned as leader at the end of October, citing “internal conflict” and an inability to “prevent a purge of good members from the party”.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Braine is married with four children,[5] and lives in Chelsea, London, where he has contested local elections as a UK Independence Party candidate.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION – LONDON – Thursday 23 May 2019 – List of Parties and Individual Candidates Nominated and Notice of Poll" (PDF). Westminster City Council. Retrieved 11 August 2019.
  2. ^ "Richard William Maguire BRAINE – Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". Companies House, Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b Batten, Gerard (31 July 2019). "Twitter: Gerard Batten". @GerardBattenUK. Retrieved 15 August 2019.[non-primary source needed]
  4. ^ Emmerson, Daniel (1 August 2019). "UK Independence Party: NEC Double Standards?". Fortis est Veritas. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e "braine.com". braine.com. Retrieved 15 August 2019.
  6. ^ "Cyberphotographer Portfolio". braine.com. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner parliamentary constituency – Election 2017". BBC News. 9 June 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  8. ^ "2019 European elections: List of candidates for London". BBC News. 28 April 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  9. ^ "UKIP: Richard Braine elected as party leader". BBC News. 10 August 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  10. ^ Parveen, Nazia (17 September 2019). "Ukip leader accused of insulting party over conference no-show". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  11. ^ a b Davies, Cemlyn (20 September 2019). "UKIP conference amidst row over leader's no-show". Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  12. ^ "UKIP leader suspended over data theft allegations". 21 October 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2019.
  13. ^ Cockburn, Harry (30 October 2019). "Ukip loses eighth leader since Brexit referendum as Richard Braine resigns ahead of general election". The Independent. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Chelsea Riverside – local election results 2018 | Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 15 August 2019.