McKenzie in 2007
23 October 1953|
Croydon, Greater London, England
Unity in Action (2017–present)|
English Democrats (2015–2017)
Unity Party (2009)
Independent (2008–2009, 2005, 2003–2004)
Liberal Democrats (2002–2003)
Labour (until 2001)
Duke McKenzie (brother)|
Clinton McKenzie (brother)
Winston Truman McKenzie (born 23 October 1953) is a British political activist and perennial candidate for public office. He is a member of Unity in Action. He has been a member of every major political party, and has stood as an independent or minor party candidate on numerous occasions without success.
A British Jamaican, McKenzie worked as a boxer before later running a pub with his brothers; it was closed down after police found many of its customers to possess weapons and drugs.
He was a member of the Labour Party from the 1980s until 2001. The following year he joined the Liberal Democrats, staying with them until 2003; he then remained politically independent for some time before becoming a member of Veritas. In 2006 he joined the Conservative Party, which he left to become a political independent again.
In 2009 he tried to establish his own Unity Party, but this failed owing to a lack of financial backing; McKenzie then joined the UK Independence Party. He stood for its leadership in 2010 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 9 March 2015, and was the UKIP candidate for Croydon North in the 2015 general election.
After an acrimonious departure from UKIP, McKenzie joined the English Democrats. In 2016 he competed on reality television show Celebrity Big Brother and was the first contestant to be eliminated, receiving negative attention for his views on homosexuality.
- 1 Background
- 2 Political career
- 2.1 Labour, Lib Dems and Independent
- 2.2 Veritas, Independent and Veritas again
- 2.3 Conservative and Independent - 2008 London mayoral candidacy
- 2.4 Unity Party
- 2.5 UK Independence Party
- 2.6 English Democrats
- 2.7 Unity in Action
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Electoral record
- 6 References
- 7 External links
An elder brother of boxer Duke McKenzie and a younger brother of boxer Clinton McKenzie, Winston McKenzie was a successful amateur middleweight boxer. He fought professionally as a super-welterweight. He contended that after an underprivileged childhood, "boxing was my salvation". However, at the age of 23 he was forced to quit boxing after he suffered two detached retinas.
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 reputation... as a 'battleground' rife with gangsters and drug pushers until the brothers took over." 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." It closed down in December 2002, after a single police raid resulted in 25 people on the premises being charged with various drugs and firearms offences. The pub was boarded up after the raid, and McKenzie confirmed in January 2003 that it would not be reopening. The building has been demolished. In 2005 he unsuccessfully auditioned for The X Factor.
Labour, Lib Dems and Independent
McKenzie joined the Labour Party in the 1980s. 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." Seven months later he had left the Lib Dems. He stood in the September 2003 Brent East by-election as an independent candidate on a slogan of "The black voice for Great Britain". He pledged to "shut all gates of entry to immigrants and asylum seekers" (and ask the USA to take on Britain's immigrants in exchange for Britain's support in the Iraq War), and to increase 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." He polled 197 votes (0.94%), coming seventh out of 16 candidates.
Veritas, Independent and Veritas again
McKenzie joined the newly formed Veritas party in 2005, calling for "a blanket ban on immigration and asylum for one year", and becoming its principal spokesman on sport. 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, his lost deposit and other financial losses as a result of his campaign. He resigned from Veritas two weeks after the 2005 election (and three months after joining). He rejoined Veritas when Kilroy-Silk stepped down as leader, so that he could stand for leader of the party. He came third out of three candidates, polling 168 votes (14.4%). 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%), only surpassing the votes received by the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate.
Conservative and Independent - 2008 London mayoral candidacy
After the local press reported that his 2004 "inaugural Croydon youth games ended in farce [in] October after many events were cancelled at short notice", McKenzie accused the local Conservative council of being "racist" in failing to support the endeavour. However, in November 2006 he joined the Conservative Party and announced 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". He came last of the 10 candidates, polling 5,389 votes (0.22%).
McKenzie founded the Unity Party in March 2009, and announced he would be the Unity Party candidate for Croydon Central at the next UK general election. In October 2009, McKenzie reported that Unity had folded as a party because of the withdrawal of its main financial backer.
UK Independence Party
2009–10: leadership elections, general election
McKenzie joined the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in September 2009, and immediately announced he was a candidate to succeed Nigel Farage in its leadership election. However, McKenzie was barred from standing because he was still the leader of the Unity Party. In February 2010 he was adopted as UKIP's candidate for Tottenham. In the 2010 general election he came sixth of 10 candidates in Tottenham, polling 466 votes (1.1%).
2011–12: London Mayoral, Assembly elections, Croydon North by-election
McKenzie confirmed in May 2011 that he was again hoping to be Mayor of London, this time under the banner of UKIP. He told UKIP paper The Voice: "The rumours are true. I am definitely looking to be nominated as a candidate." 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 McGough, both on 7.4%, behind winner Webb, who had 42%, and David Coburn on 29%.
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. 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." 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.
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 repeated in the local and national press. 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." The comments were condemned by Ben Summerskill, Chief Executive of Stonewall, as "inflammatory", while UKIP distanced itself from the comments. The 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." 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."
In the Croydon North by-election, McKenzie came third with 5.7% of the vote, beating the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. He also retained his deposit for the first time in his political career.
2013–14: local election, local difficulties
During campaigning for the 2014 local and European elections, a UKIP event organised in Croydon was picketed by protestors angry at Nigel 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." A steel band had been booked to play at the event but pulled out when they learnt that it was a UKIP event. 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." He was not elected to Croydon Council.
McKenzie lost the confidence of his local UKIP branch, amid claims he and his partner Marianne Bowness mishandled thousands of pounds of branch funds. He was suspended as branch chairman, and later replaced. Members signed motions of no confidence in McKenzie.
2015: general election, acrimonious departure from UKIP
McKenzie was the UKIP candidate for Croydon North in the 2015 general election. He had 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.
UKIP removed McKenzie from his position as Commonwealth spokesman for the party in March 2015, although he retained his position as prospective candidate for Croydon North. In the 2015 general election he came third, again beating the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, and again retaining his deposit with over 5% of the vote.
In November 2015, McKenzie said on ITV News that he had been overlooked for the London elections as a mayoral or Greater London Assembly candidate, and claimed this was owing to racism amongst senior UKIP officials. He said he was resigning from the party, and he cast his UKIP badge onto the table. He declared he would stand for London Mayor as an independent candidate.
McKenzie joined the English Democrats in December 2015 and was selected as the party's candidate for the 2016 London mayoral election at a national council meeting held in Bradford. A party statement declared McKenzie to be "the most influential Black English political figure today". However, his nomination papers for the mayoral election were not completed properly before the close of nominations, so he was ineligible to stand in that election.
On 8 April 2016 it was confirmed that McKenzie would be standing in a borough council by-election in Croydon to be held on the same day as the mayoral election. In October he stood in the by-election in the Oxfordshire seat of Witney, left vacant by the resignation of David Cameron. He came 12th of 14 candidates, with 52 votes, less than half the votes received by the Official Monster Raving Loony Party candidate.
Unity in Action
In 2017 McKenzie registered himself as leader of Unity in Action.
Celebrity Big Brother
In January 2016, McKenzie became a contestant on the Channel 5 reality television show Celebrity Big Brother, expressing the view that doing so was a "good opportunity to get exposure" for his mayoral candidacy. McKenzie stated that if there was to be a gay person in the house, "I guess I'll just have to stand with my back against a brick wall all the time." Upon making these comments, McKenzie was booed by the audience. Within two days, the regulator Ofcom received over 300 complaints about his comments. McKenzie was however defended by the spokesperson for the English Democrats, Steve Uncles, who compared the gay community to Nazis "when it comes to freedom of speech" and stated that McKenzie's viewpoint was being unfairly demonised given that – in his view – any Muslim contestants on Celebrity Big Brother would try to throw gay men off buildings. McKenzie was evicted via housemates' votes 13/14 on 8 January. During his time in the house, he reiterated his previous comments on child adoption by LGBT couples to Angie Bowie (the bisexual ex-wife of David Bowie), referring to such adoption as "child abuse", a view which Bowie clearly abhorred. Housemates and viewers of the programme considered his views towards homosexuality as wrong and also "disgusting". During an interview with Emma Willis upon his eviction, she questioned him on his controversial time in the house he referred to his time in the CBB house, saying that "I'm a boxer. Amateur professional. I thought I knew everything. But when I walked into the house and heard other people’s stories, anxieties, what they've been through, I realised you don't know everything. There are people out there who really give it their all.... It's such a revelation for me."
In an interview with Chat Politics, McKenzie likened UKIP leader Nigel Farage to Jesus Christ and non-stick Teflon, saying that "Jesus was one man, we're his army. Farage is one man, and we're his army and that's what it's all about," adding that "Farage is like Teflon – he can do no wrong. Everywhere he goes, it doesn't matter what he says or does – he gets away with it." 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."
|Liberal Democrat||Liz Leffman||11,611||30.2||+23.4|
|National Health Action||Helen Salisbury||433||1.1||0.0|
|Monster Raving Loony||Mad Hatter||129||0.3||N/A|
|Bus-Pass Elvis||David Bishop||61||0.2||N/A|
|Eccentric Party||Lord Toby Jug||59||0.2||N/A|
|English Democrat||Winston T. McKenzie||52||0.1||N/A|
|One Love Party||Emilia Arno||44||0.1||N/A|
|Liberal Democrat||Geoff Morley||140||2.9|
|Independence from Europe||Peter Morgan||77||1.6|
|English Democrat||Winston T. McKenzie||70||1.4|
|Summary of the 5 May 2016 Mayor of London election results|
|Name||Party||1st Preference Votes||%||2nd Preference Votes||%||Final||%|
|Sadiq Khan||Labour||1,148,716||44.2 (+3.9)||388,090||17.5||1,536,806||56.9 (+8.4)|
|Zac Goldsmith||Conservative||909,755||35.0 (-9.0)||250,214||11.3||1,159,969||43.0 (-8.5)|
|Siân Berry||Green||150,673||5.8 (+1.3)||468,318||21.2||N/A|
|Caroline Pidgeon||Liberal Democrat||120,005||4.6 (+0.4)||335,931||15.2||N/A|
|Peter Whittle||UKIP||94,373||3.6 (+1.6)||223,253||10.1||N/A|
|Sophie Walker||Women's Equality Party||53,055||2.0 (-)||198,720||9.0||N/A|
|George Galloway||Respect||37,007||1.4 (-)||117,080||5.3||N/A|
|Paul Golding||Britain First||31,372||1.2 (-)||73,883||3.3||N/A|
|Lee Harris||CISTA||20,537||0.8 (-)||67,495||3.1||N/A|
|David Furness||BNP||13,325||0.5 (-)||36,168||1.6||N/A|
|Prince Zylinski||Independent||13,202||0.5 (-)||24,646||1.1||N/A|
|Ankit Love||One Love||4,941||0.2 (-)||28,920||1.3||N/A|
|Winston T. McKenzie||English Democrats||Disqualified from ballot paper||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Labour Co-op||Steve Reed||33,513||62.6||+6.6|
|UKIP||Winston T. McKenzie||2,899||5.4||+3.7|
|Liberal Democrat||Joanna Corbin||1,919||3.6||-10.4|
|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|
|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|
|UKIP||Winston T. McKenzie||1,400||5.7||+4.0|
|Liberal Democrat||Marisha Ray||860||3.5||-10.5|
|Christian Peoples||Stephen Hammond||192||0.8||N/A|
|National Front||Richard Edmonds||161||0.7||N/A|
|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|
|Liberal Democrat||Abigail Lock||21,889||14.2||-4.1|
|UKIP||Winston T. McKenzie||10,757||7.0||+1.6|
|Total formal votes||153,819||98.6|
|UKIP||Winston T. McKenzie||530||5.3||N/A|
|Liberal Democrat||David Schmitz||7,197||17.7||+0.9|
|UKIP||Winston T. McKenzie||466||1.1||N/A|
|Independent People Together||Neville Watson||265||0.7||N/A|
|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||Winston T. McKenzie||168||14.4||N/A|
|Labour||Simon A. Hall||993||52.4||-13.0|
|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|
|Liberal Democrat||Adrian Gee-Turner||7,590||17.2||+6.8|
|Croydon Pensions Alliance||Peter Gibson||394||0.9||N/A|
|Veritas||Winston T. McKenzie||324||0.7||N/A|
|The People's Choice||Michelle Chambers||132||0.3||N/A|
|Liberal Democrat||Sarah Teather||8,158||39.12||+28.5|
|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|
|Socialist Labour||Iris Cremer||111||0.53||–0.8|
|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|
|www.xat.org||Rainbow George Weiss||11||0.05||N/A|
|Liberal Democrat gain from Labour||Swing||+29.0|
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- on YouTube
- on YouTube