Young Independence

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Young Independence
Chairman Jamie Ross-McKenzie [1]
Deputy Chairman Katie Fanning[citation needed]
Membership Increase 3,500 [2] (30 May 2015)
Ideology Hard Euroscepticism[3][4]
Right-wing populism[5]
Economic liberalism[4]
British unionism[6]

Young Independence (YI) is the youth wing of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and represents all UKIP members under the age of 30.[8]


The wing was formed during the 2007 annual UKIP conference by the then National Executive Committee member Delroy Young. YI was formed to encompass all UKIP members aged thirty-five and under,[9] but is now for those under the age of thirty as the total number of young people in UKIP has grown.[citation needed] A referendum was held during May 2015 to see if the upper age should be lowered from 30 to 25, but this was rejected by 74.2% to 25.8%. With increasing membership, YI started to move towards forming student organisations. However, it faced heavy opposition from the National Union of Students.[10]


Young Independence is run by an Executive Council of elected members. The Executive Council consists of a Chairman, Deputy Chairman, National Coordinator, Treasurer, Secretary, Events Officer and Media Officer. In addition, there is a National Council which consists of the Executive Council, Regional Chairmen (elected by the membership to oversee its county or regional affairs) and the UKIP Students Chairman. Young Independence is led by the National Chairman, Jamie Ross McKenzie, who was elected as (succeeding Joseph Jenkins) in July 2016, with 57% of the vote.

UKIP Students[edit]

In April 2014, the National Union of Students passed a motion at its National Conference to officially oppose UKIP.[11] In response, on 1 August, UKIP's universities officer, Joseph Jenkins, announced the formation of UKIP Students, a branch of Young Independence dedicated to expanding UKIP's presence in universities, colleges and schools.[citation needed] UKIP Students has its own committee.[citation needed]


In 2013, the YI chairman Olly Neville was fired by the party, reportedly for supporting same-sex marriage.[12] YI's treasurer Allrik Birch, election officer Gareth Shanks, Yorkshire chairman Arnie Craven, and the Yorkshire deputy chairwoman Christina Annesley resigned in protest.[13] Other party members have come out in support of same-sex marriage, however, such as the chairman and prospective Parliamentary candidate in Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, Nathan Garbutt, questioning whether Neville really was removed for supporting the issue at hand: "if he had been removed for favouring gay marriage, the question stands; ‘Why have I not been removed too?’".[14]

Another incident came a few days later when the YI Northwest chairman and prospective Parliamentary candidate for Chester Richard Lowe was 'forced to quit' because of a lack of confidence from the branch over his support for same-sex marriage and other views that 'clashed with UKIP policy'.[15]

During the first UKIP leadership election in 2016, YI members were accused of body shaming and attacking one of the candidates, Lisa Duffy.[16] The attacks supposedly took place in the YI Faculty Facebook group, a closed group for members. This group was shut down after Huffington Post revealed alleged racism and homophobic attacks also occurring on the page.[17]

On the 1st September 2017, Hilton Sheffield cancelled the venue booking for the Young Independence annual conference citing "heightened safety and security risks"[18] a day before the conference was due to be held. This came about after pressure from city councillors over the announced speaker, leader of anti-migrant Defend Europe Martin Sellner, who was due to speak at the event[19]. Young Independence said in a statement that Hilton Sheffield had stopped the event following threatening emails to staff sent by Stand up to Racism[20].


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Robinson, Chris (13 July 2010). Electoral Systems and Voting in the United Kingdom. Edinburgh University Press. p. 203. ISBN 978-0748627509. 
  4. ^ a b c Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe". 
  5. ^ Abedi & Lundberg 2009, p. 72; Jones 2011, p. 245; Dolezal 2012, p. 142; Liebert 2012, p. 123.
  6. ^ Farage, Nigel. "'Ukip offers a new kind of unionism,' claims Ukip's Farage", The Belfast Telegraph, Belfast, 14 September 2015. Retrieved on 19 September 2015.
  7. ^ Tournier-Sol 2015, p. 147.
  8. ^ Young Independence Constitution
  9. ^ Charlie Cooper,"There ain’t no party like a Ukip youth party", The Independent, 12 December 2012
  10. ^
  11. ^ "No to Ukip and yes to free education: NUS conference votes for surprisingly radical policies", The Independent, 14 April 2014
  12. ^ Sebastian Payne, The most shocking thing about young Ukip supporters: they’re normal, The Spectator, May 24, 2014
    "Ukip youth leader Olly Neville dropped in gay marriage row", Channel 4 News, 9 January 2013
    "UKIP youth chairman sacked after comments on Europe and gay marriage", BBC News, 9 January 2013
    "UKIP removes youth chairman from office for supporting gay rights", Pink News, 9 January 2013
  13. ^ "Ukip's Olly Neville, Youth Chair, Sacked After Revealing Support For Gay Marriage", The Huffington Post UK, 9 January 2013
  14. ^ Scott Roberts, "UKIP LGBT chairman: I support same-sex marriage — but it’s not important", Pink News, 15 January 2013
  15. ^ Jim Green, "UKIP candidate 'forced to quit' over support for gay marriage", Chester First, 14 January 2013
  16. ^ Owen Bennett, "Nigel Farage’s Former Aide Tells Suzanne Evans To ‘Shut Up’, While Leadership Candidate Trolled In Secret Facebook Group", Huffington Post, 16 August 2016
  17. ^ Owen Bennett, "Ukip Youth Group Trade Islamophobic, Anti-Semitic And Homophobic Slurs In Secret Facebook Group", Huffington Post, 19 August 2016
  18. ^ Torr, George. "Sheffield hotel cancels UKIP youth event featuring far right speaker and anti-Islam leadership candidate". Daily Star. Daily Star. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  19. ^ Gayle, Damien. "Leader of anti-migrant Defend Europe campaign to speak at Ukip youth rally". Guardian. Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 
  20. ^ Ross-McKenzie, Jamie. "YI #HORIZONS CONFERENCE CANCELLED". Facebook. Young Independence. Retrieved 1 September 2017. 

External links[edit]