UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

David Campbell-Bannerman who defected last month from UKIP to the Conservatives has written an interesting justification on Conservative Home. He argues that the Conservatives are the best placed party to secure Britain leaving the European Union:

‘I believe it is only the Conservative Party that can realistically offer a way out of the EU, through a future manifesto or through support for an In/Out referendum.’

I do wonder when he applied for membership which David Cameron  category of UKIP member he was listed under – fruitcake/loony/closet racist?

This does seem a very sudden decision, as in the current edition of this newspaper David Campbell-Bannerman criticises the Conservative-lead government’s defence and foreign policy in very robust terms. UKIP reaction has alleged careerism, and this image from the Independence Home website encapsulates many of their views.

I think the British media generally still underestimate how Eurosceptic the Conservative Party is, and this defection makes the Conservative MEPs an even more right wing grouping. UKIP do have a singular ability to lose MEPs. In the 2004-9 Parliamentary term a quarter of its MEPs departed for the delights of Spain and Her Majesty’s Pleasure. Since 2009 Nikki Sinclaire MEP no longer follows the UKIP whip following her complaints about homophobia and now another MEP leaves. Nigel Farage and Marta Andreasen are conducting a very public row at present. It will be little surprise if we reach the 2014 European elections with a quarter or more of UKIP MEPs no longer representing the Party the public thought they were voting for.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “UKIP’s remarkable ability to shed MEPs

  1. Daniel Oxley

    UKIP does lose MEPs but then it can perhaps afford to lose the odd one here and there – it won more votes and more seats in the EU Parliament than Labour.

    This must have been a serious irritation to Labour. After having dismissed UKIP as a fringe party, a minority party, etc. UKIP’s success does possibly account for the unreasonable stridency with which Labour describes UKIP. It is interesting to note that supporters of the Lib/Lab/Con Party like to dismiss UKIP as no hopers and then froth at the mouth about their iniquities. If UKIP is not an electoral threat why do they exercise themselves with so much condemnation? Nobody bothers with analysis of the Monster Raving Loony Party for a very obvious reason; they are not going to win any seats anywhere.

    Mary is quite right to describe David Campbell Bannerman as a sell out though I do not recall similar outrage when for instance, Sean Woodward made his pointless move from the Tories to Labour. Pointless, that is from a political stand point, clearly it was advantageous to him in securing a government post.

    Sean Woodward’s move and David Campbell Bannerman’s move were similar in that they were both motivated by political ambition but whereas the former was seeking advancement, the latter was seeking to avoid oblivion.

    David Campbell Bannerman is a veteran of many UKIP leadership contests and his share of the vote in his last attempt was pitifully low, lower even than the time before. This must have made him worry that he would be short of support even for selection as an MEP, so he chose to betray his party and his stated principles. Principles which as Mary correctly pointed out he was espousing right up to the moment of his defection. The enticement of a regular salary in the next EU Parliament was clearly irresistible to him in comparison to returning to his former career as an unsuccessful script writer.

    As for the speculation on which of David Cameron’s categories David Campbell Bannerman suits the best, I would not place him in any of them, he is just an opportunist.

    Mary clearly believes that he has moved from one Eurosceptic Party to another. This is difficult to accept. The Tories serve the cause of the EU rather better than the Labour Party. They whine about the EU, they pretend they are not going to put up with this or that from the EU and by doing so they reassure their grass roots and others that there will be some restraining influence on the EU. They do not of course restrain the EU, they sign up to everything and they have still to make good their promise of a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty/EU Constitution. It is perhaps worth remembering that when the Labour Party’s official policy was against EU membership the Tories were in favour of it.

    Mary’s high expectation that UKIP politicians might behave like angels was an interesting one; it seems to be higher than that of most UKIP members. A prison sentence from long ago is dredged up, despite so many Labour politicians currently getting themselves familiar with prison routine and the spat between Marta Andreasen and Nigel Farage is unlikely to outrage the public very much; we did follow the lengthy tussle for position between Brown and Blair with interest.

  2. Daniel Oxley

    One other point, Niki Sinclaire has withdrawn the accusation of homophobia.