United Kingdom Independence Party


United Kingdom Independence Party

Infobox_Political_party
party_name = United Kingdom Independence Party
party_articletitle = United Kingdom Independence Party
party_
leader = Nigel Farage MEP
foundation = 1993
ideology = Euroscepticism, Conservatism,fact|date=July 2008 Populism [ [http://www.ukipwatch.org/ukipspeeches200602.html UKIPwatch ] ] [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/jun/15/thefarright.uk The new avengers | Politics | guardian.co.uk ] ] [ [http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/article.php3?id_article=15 European Union - A crisis of legitimacy ] ] [http://aei.pitt.edu/3024/02/PaperEuroscepticism1.doc]
europarl = Independence and Democracy
colours = Purple and yellow
headquarters = PO Box 408
Newton Abbot
TQ12 9BG
website = [http://www.ukip.org http://www.ukip.org]

The United Kingdom Independence Party (commonly known as UKIP, pronEng|ˈjuːkɪp) is a British political party. Its principal aim is the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. UKIP currently has one seat in the House of Commons, 9 seats in the European Parliament and two in the House of Lords. It also has around 60 local councillors on principal authorities, town and parish councils. It claims a membership of around 16,700. [ [http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/files/dms/UKIPSoA2006_26874-19884__E__N__S__W__.pdf Electoral Commission files] ] [ [http://www.ukip.org/ukip/index.php UK Independence Party - UKIP.org Home ] ]

The party's policy is that the United Kingdom "shall again be governed by laws made to suit its own needs by its own Parliament, which must be directly and solely accountable to the electorate of the UK". [ [http://www.ukip.org/index.php?menu=theconstitution&page=constitution UK Independence Party - UKIP.org Home ] ]

In the 2004 European elections, UKIP received 2.7 million votes (16.8% of the national vote), gaining twelve seats in the European Parliament. In the 2005 general election, the party received 618,000 votes (2.38% of the national vote). The party gained its first MP when Bob Spink, who had been sitting as an Independent Conservative, defected in April 2008. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/news/2008/04/22/nukip122.xml Tory rebel Bob Spink becomes Ukip's first MP] , Daily Telegraph, London, 22 April 2008.]

History

Early years

UKIP was founded in 1993 by Alan Sked and other members of the all-party Anti-Federalist League. Its central aim was withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The new party attracted some members of the anti-European wing of the Conservative Party, which was split on the European question after the pound was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 and the struggle over ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. UKIP candidates stood in the 1997 general election, but were overshadowed by James Goldsmith's Referendum Party. After the election, Sked resigned the leadership and left the party, which was, he said, 'doomed to remain on the political fringes'. However, Goldsmith died soon after the election and his Referendum Party was dissolved, with a resulting influx of new UKIP supporters. The leadership election was won by millionaire businessman Michael Holmes, and in the 1999 elections to the European Parliament UKIP gained three seats and 7% of the vote. In that election, Nigel Farage (South East England), Jeffrey Titford (East of England), and Michael Holmes (South West England) were elected.

Over the following months there was a power struggle between the leader, Michael Holmes, and the party's National Executive Committee (NEC). This was partly due to Holmes making a speech perceived as calling for greater powers for the European Parliament against the European Commission. Ordinary party members forced the resignation of both Holmes and the entire NEC. Holmes resigned from the party itself in March 2000. There was a legal battle when he tried to continue as an independent MEP until resigning from the European Parliament in December 2002, when he was replaced by Graham Booth, the second candidate on the UKIP list in South West England.

Jeffrey Titford was narrowly elected to the vacant leadership.

2001 general election

UKIP put up candidates in more than 420 seats in the 2001 general election, coming fifth in terms of votes cast (with 1.5% of the vote) and failing to win any representation at Westminster. It also failed to break through in the elections to the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly, despite those elections being held under proportional representation. In 2002 Titford stood down as party leader, but continued to sit as a UKIP MEP. He was replaced as leader by Roger Knapman.

Robert Kilroy-Silk

In late 2004, reports in the mainstream UK press speculated on if or when former Labour Party MP and chat-show host Robert Kilroy-Silk would take control of the party. These reports were heightened by Kilroy-Silk's speech at the UKIP party conference in Bristol on 2 October 2004, in which he called for the Conservative Party to be "killed off" (following UKIP's forcing the Conservatives into fourth place in Hartlepool).

Interviewed by Channel 4 television, Kilroy-Silk did not deny having ambitions to lead the party, but stressed that Roger Knapman would lead it into the next general election. However, the next day, on "Breakfast with Frost", he criticised Knapman's leadership. After further disagreement with the leadership, on 27 October 2004 Kilroy-Silk resigned the UKIP whip in the European Parliament. Initially he remained a member, while seeking a bid for the party leadership. However, this was not successful, and Kilroy-Silk resigned completely from UKIP on 20 January 2005, calling it a "joke". Two weeks later, he founded his own party, Veritas, taking several UKIP members, including both London Assembly members, with him. Kilroy-Silk has subsequently resigned from Veritas.

2006 leadership election

In October 2005, Petrina Holdsworth resigned as Chairman of UKIP and from the party's National Executive Committee. She was replaced as Chairman "on an interim basis" by the party's former leader, Jeffrey Titford MEP. In December 2005, David Campbell-Bannerman, a former Conservative, became the new party chairman, appointed by the party leader, Roger Knapman MEP. Knapman's four-year term as leader ended in June 2006, triggering a leadership contest that saw four challengers: (Richard Suchorzewski, David Campbell-Bannerman, David Noakes and Nigel Farage), from which Farage emerged as victor on 12 September 2006.

Farage's stated intention is to broaden the public perception of UKIP beyond merely being a party seeking to get the UK out of the EU, to one of being a free market party broadly standing for traditional conservative and libertarian values.

Proposed change of name

It was announced on 5 February 2007 that UKIP intended to change its name to Independence Party. This change was to be subject to a postal ballot of members, and would have to be accepted by the Electoral Commission under the Registration of Political Parties Act. [ [http://www.epolitix.com/EN/News/200702/742751d5-2e09-4430-92fd-0b93c9865fa6.htm ePolitix.com - UKIP delays name change ] ]

ome policies

Although the UKIP's original "raison d'être" was the EU, it has now expanded from being a single-issue party to developing a full domestic agenda, starting with a wide-ranging review and the establishment of a policy development group. UKIP has produced detailed policy documents on taxation [ [http://www.ukip.org/pdf/ukipflattaxpolicy.pdf UK Independence Party ] ] and education [ [http://www.ukip.org/pdf/ukipeducation.pdf ukipeducation.pdf ] ] . Its economic stance is based what it claims to be the need for much lower taxation in order to compete internationally, a position which has been reinforced since the election of Nigel Farage as leader in September 2006.

On Europe

UKIP contends that Britain's membership is expensive and that Britain's sovereignty is diluted by being part of a large bloc. In particular, it perceives the latter issue as being so fundamental a problem that only complete withdrawal from the Union can address it. For this reason, the aim of British withdrawal from the EU is written into UKIP's constitution. In line with this, one of UKIP's political goals is to break what it sees as the pro-EU consensus among the three established parties, and prevent the introduction of the euro and the adoption of a European constitution.

Economic policies

UKIP favours a 'Flat Tax' as well as cuts in corporation taxes and the abolition of inheritance taxes. [cite news |first=Nick |last=Watson |title=West Midlands: On the Coleshill trail |url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/5407572.stm |work=The Politics Show |publisher=British Broadcasting Corporation |date=2006-10-05 |accessdate=2008-06-25] The party also strongly believes in closer economic ties with the British Commonwealth, which it sees as more viable to trade with in the coming decades due Commonwealth nations like India which are undergoing rapid economic growth, compared to the slow growth of the European Union. [http://www.ukip.org/content/ukip-policies/726-ukip-policies-in-brief]

ID cards

UKIP are against the planned introduction of identity cards, believing them to be ineffective as a way of combating fraud and terrorism, and an infringement of individual liberty. In December 2004 UKIP affiliated to the anti-ID card campaign, No2ID. Concern for civil liberties also led UKIP to oppose the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 [ [http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/acts/acts2004/20040036.htm Civil Contingencies Act 2004 (c. 36) ] ] , which gives additional powers to the UK Home Secretary in broadly defined "emergency situations". UKIP's Jeffrey Titford MEP condemned the bill as "totalitarian". [http://ukip.org/abc_news/gen12.php?t=1&id=974]

Devolution and unionism

Although UKIP is strongly opposed to the centralisation of power and to political union in Europe, it is a strong supporter of the centralisation of power and political union in the UK. It argues that, within the UK itself, all political power should reside at Westminster. UKIP therefore both opposes the notion of a devolved English parliament and argues that the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies should be abolished, with all parliamentary powers returning to WestminsterFact|date=June 2008.

Climate change

UKIP argues in favour of the expansion of nuclear power for reasons of energy security as well as to cut carbon emissions. It does not think large-scale cuts of carbon emissions are necessary. It also argues that plans to invest in wind power are uneconomic. [cite web
url=http://www.ukip.org/ukip/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=240&Itemid=62
title=Environmental Policy
publisher=United Kingdom Independence Party
date=2007
accessdate=2007-10-17
]

Electoral performance 2004-2008

UKIP's first electoral success was the election of three MEPs in 1999, and it made further advances in 2004. Although it increased its share of the vote in both the 2001 general election and 2005 general election, it did not achieve the same levels of vote as in those elections to the European Parliament.

UKIP's expectations were high before the 2004 European Parliament election, with a number of opinion polls – starting with one from YouGov - showing them on course to beat the Liberal Democrats and pick up a dozen MEPs. The prediction proved accurate, with UKIP winning 16.8% of the vote and taking third place nationally, with 12 seats. UKIP won seats in eight regions, taking votes from all three major political parties. It came second, ahead of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, in four regions: South West, South East, Eastern and East Midlands. In the East Midlands region, UKIP came within a percentage point of being top of the poll. UKIP received assistance in coordinating its 2004 election campaign from Dick Morris, formerly Bill Clinton's campaign advisor, who has since emerged as an advocate of US unilateralism and an opponent of the EU.

In the 2005 general election, despite fielding 495 candidates, the party failed to win any seats at Westminster. UKIP gained 618,000 votes, or 2.4% of the total votes cast (an increase of 220,000 votes/0.9% from its result in the 2001 general election). Although this may be regarded as respectable for a small party, and was sufficient to place it fourth in terms of total votes cast behind the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Democrats polled, as is customary, in excess of 20% of the total vote cast. UKIP's best result was in Boston & Skegness, where their candidate Richard Horsnell came third with 9.6% of the vote.

In the 2006 English local elections, UKIP won its first borough council seat in Hartlepool, when Stephen Allison was elected for the St. Hilda Ward. UKIP also beat Labour into fourth place in the Bromley and Chislehurst by-election in June 2006. The UKIP candidate, Nigel Farage, came third with 8.1% of the vote, against Labour's 6.6%.

In May 2008 the Greater London Assembly elections saw the UKIP vote fall dramatically from over 8% to under 2% on the pan-London proportional list vote. In the London Mayoral election UKIP candidate, Gerard Batten's result was over 5% lower than Frank Maloney's result in 2004. However in the local elections in England and Wales, held on the same day, the UK Independence Party doubled its representation on Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, gaining two seats from the Labour Party, and gained its second councillor in Hartlepool.

Relationship with other parties

The Conservatives

UKIP is often seen as a "Tory pressure group", whose main aim is to persuade the Conservative Party to support withdrawal from the European Union. Many prominent members of UKIP are former members of the Conservative Party, such as former UKIP leader Roger Knapman - other former Tory MPs include Jonathan Aitken, Sir Richard Body, Michael Brotherton, John Browne, Christopher Gill, Piers Merchant.

Although UKIP did not come close to winning any seats at the 2005 general election, it polled well enough that their votes, if added to the Conservative candidates totals constituency by constituency, would have led to Conservative majorities in 22 more seats (13 of which were won by Labour, 9 by the Liberal Democrats). This has led to UKIP being criticised for preventing the election of eurosceptic Conservative MPs. UKIP counter by saying that they will not oppose any incumbent MPs from any party who support the Better Off Out campaign. A recent ConservativeHome survey revealed that 43% of surveyed members of the Conservative Party felt that UKIP was the closest party to their views (apart from the Conservative Party itself) [ [http://conservativehome.blogs.com/torydiary/2006/12/tory_members_ar.html ConservativeHome's ToryDiary: Tory members are closest to UKIP ] ] , with 66% either supporting or sympathising with the Better Off Out campaign. Six Conservative MPs have signed the Better Off Out petition.

In April 2006 Conservative Party leader David Cameron called UKIP members "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" while talking on LBC radio in London after a question about UKIP using the Freedom of Information Act to force the disclosure of donors. UKIP demanded an apology for the "closet racists" remark and threatened legal action for slander, although this was later dropped, on the grounds that to sue the party would have to prove loss, and the comment had actually had a positive effect for UKIP. Conservative MP Bob Spink criticised his leader's remarks, as did the pro-Conservative "Daily Telegraph". [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/05/dl0502.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/04/05/ixnewstop.html UKIP deserves better - Telegraph ] ]

Defection of Conservative peers to UKIP

On 9 January 2007, two former Conservative peers defected from the Conservative Party to the UKIP. Lords Pearson and Willoughby de Broke joined the UKIP as they felt the Conservative Party was not producing policy to support their beliefs. They had previously had the Conservative whip withdrawn when they had encouraged voters to support UKIP. Other high-profile Conservatives have defected to UKIP, but this is the first example of sitting parliamentarians doing so. On 20 January 2007 the Earl of Dartmouth, also a former Conservative member of the House of Lords, defected. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6281423.stm BBC NEWS | UK | Conservative peer defects to UKIP ] ] On 22 April 2008 Conservative MP Bob Spink defected to UKIP, giving the party its first representative in the House of Commons. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7360118.stm Ex-Tory MP Spink defects to UKIP] ]

Far-right parties

UKIP's constitution contains a clause guaranteeing that the party will not discriminate on the grounds of race and will be non-sectarian, and the party's rules require all candidates to declare that they have no past or present links with far-right organisations.

Despite its stated policies, some critics of UKIP claim links between it and racist groups. Aidan Rankin, co-author of the party's 2001 manifesto, was once involved with the Third Way, which was founded by former members of the National Front (though he has since repudiated these views and has denied ever being a racist; it must also be stated that Third Way has never been as extreme as the NF). Alistair McConnachie, a five-times UKIP candidate and National Executive member, was expelled from UKIP for his views on the Holocaust. [ [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/election2001/comment/0,9407,472826,00.html Ambitions on the right | Politics | guardian.co.uk ] ] Some other candidates were formerly members of the New Britain Party.

It has been a stated policy of the British National Party (BNP) to "eliminate" UKIP, as they perceive that UKIP's existence prevents them from capitalising on the issue of EU membership. The BNP has infiltrated UKIP in the past, notably in the cases of Mark Deavin, a UKIP head office researcher (hired by the party founder Alan Sked) who was exposed as a BNP agent in 1997, and John Brayshaw in 2004. [ [http://web.archive.org/web/20040803160702/http://www.stormfront.org/forum/showthread.php?t=114033 Stormfront White Nationalist Community - How dare they call The BNP dumb, so, we taught em a lesson ] ] The aim appears simply to have been to damage UKIP.

Minority members of UKIP

The first ethnic-minority candidate to represent UKIP in a parliamentary by-election was Ashwinkumar Tanna, a pharmacist who had previously been an independent candidate for Mayor of London. He represented UKIP in the Tottenham by-election, 2000; his campaign, which called for British withdrawal from the EU and fairer treatment for immigrants, was ignored by the media apart from a brief paragraph in "Chemist and Druggist" magazine.

Perhaps the best-known black member of UKIP is former TV chef Rustie Lee, who stood as a candidate in the 2005 general election and also appeared in the party's election broadcast that year. The most senior black member of the UKIP leadership is Delroy Young, another general election candidate, who was elected to the party's NEC in 2006 (coming 2nd out of 46 candidates). Young recently received death threats, allegedly on the orders of a senior party member. [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article3215362.ece Black Ukip executive receives death threat - Times Online ] ] UKIP's only Muslim local councillor to date was Mohammed Yaqub, originally elected as a Conservative to Walsall Metropolitan Borough Council. He and a colleague defected to UKIP in 2004 but were defeated in their re-election bids a few months later.

Membership

Current membership is claimed to be around 16,700. Members receive personal invitations to area events in advance, the full-colour party magazine "Independence", and a membership card. Members also receive the magazine "Bulletin from Brussels" and regular newsletters from their local branches and MEPs.

Members are invited to, and may participate and vote at, the national conference, as well as annual and extraordinary general meetings. Membership costs £20.00 per annum, or £10.00 per annum for OAPs, students and those on benefits.

Current representatives

UKIP has three representatives in the Parliament of the United Kingdom: Bob Spink in the House of Commons, who joined the party in April 2008, and Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Lord Willoughby de Broke in the House of Lords. All three were selected or elected to Parliament representing the Conservative Party: Spink joined UKIP having already left the Conservatives, whilst the two Lords directly defected in January 2007. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/09/uukip106.xml Two Tory peers defect to Ukip - Telegraph ] ] UKIP has around 60 district, town and parish councillors. Although the party does not provide a list of councillors, an unofficial list is maintained on the British Democracy Forum. [ [http://www.democracyforum.co.uk/ukip-general-issues/43811-new-list-ukip-councillors.html New list of UKIP councillors ] ]

Ashley Mote, who was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for UKIP in 2004 but had the party whip withdrawn within days, joined the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty grouping in the European Parliament, alongside parties like the French National Front. Mote, who was elected for the South East England constituency, had the UKIP whip removed on 15 July 2004, because he had not informed them previously of an imminent court case involving housing benefit fraud. He was subsequently made to leave the party and is currently serving a 9-month jail sentence for several counts of fraud. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6975627.stm MEP is jailed for benefit fraud] BBC News, 4 September 2007] On 28 February 2007 UKIP suspended Tom Wise due to his being under investigation by OLAF (the European Anti Fraud Office) [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article1454696.ece UKIP in disarray after MEP is suspended over fraud allegation] , Times Online Edition, 2007-03-01. Retrieved 2008-01-21] .

The remaining MEPs are:

Leaders of the UK Independence Party since 1993

*Dr Alan Sked 1993-1997
*Craig Mackinlay 1997 (acting leader)
*Michael Holmes 1997-2000 (MEP from 1999 on)
*Jeffrey Titford, MEP 2000-2002
*Roger Knapman 2002-2006 (MEP from 2004 on)
*Nigel Farage, MEP 2006-present

Eurosceptics in the European Parliament

In 2004, 37 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden founded a new European Parliament group called "Independence and Democracy" from the old Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD) group. The group's leaders are Nigel Farage of UKIP and Kathy Sinnott from Ireland. [ [http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/expert/groupAndCountry/view.do?language=EN&id=28119 Your MEPs : Directory : Kathy SINNOTT ] ]

See also

* Constitution Party (United States)
* Real_Politics_Union (Poland)
* Euroscepticism

References

External links

* [http://www.ukip.org Official UKIP homepage]
* [http://www.youtube.com/user/ukipwebmaster UKIP official YouTube channel]
* [http://www.eupolitix.com/EN/News/200406/698036bf-68f7-47a4-974d-b9b8aca98ca5.htm UKIP's MEPs explain their aims]
* [http://www.junepress.com/coverpic.asp?BID=786 Full history of UKIP : "Hard Pounding, The Story of the UK Independence Party"]


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