- Veritas (political party)
party_name = Veritas
party_articletitle = Veritas (political party)
Therese Muchewicz (Acting)
foundation = 2005
Populist, Euroscepticism, anti- Multiculturalism, Immigration reduction| position = Right Wing | international = "none" | european = "none"
website = [http://www.veritasparty.com http://www.veritasparty.com]
Latin: "Truth") is a political partyin the United Kingdom, formed in February 2005 by politician-celebrity Robert Kilroy-Silkfollowing a split from the United Kingdom Independence Party(UKIP). Kilroy-Silk served as party leader from formation, through the 2005 General Election, until his resignation in July that year. He was succeeded by Patrick Estonwho resigned the leadership on 15 June 2008 citing frustrations of his efforts to reform the party.
Therese Muchewicz, Party Secretary is to serve as Acting Leader pending a leadership election. It has no representation in the
Parliament of the United Kingdom, although Veritas members have served in both the European Parliamentand London Assembly, having been elected as UKIP members and defecting upon Veritas' formation.
Robert Kilroy-Silk, a former Labour shadow cabinet member and television presenter, was elected as a UKIP
Member of the European Parliamentin the 2004 European Parliament election for the East Midlandsregion. His ambition to attain the leadership of that party was announced in October 2004, but it proved very unpopular within the party. Instead of risking disciplinary action for continuing this action, Kilroy-Silk resigned the party whip, while remaining a full member and asserting his continued challenge. The plan ultimately failed, and Kilroy-Silk finally resigned from the party - as had been long expected - on 20 January 2005. Rumours circulated immediately that Kilroy-Silk was set to form his own party, fuelled by the registration of the domain name "veritasparty.com" a month earlier. An earlier rumour suggested that he had been in negotiations with the English Democratsto join and lead their party. [http://www.guardian.co.uk/diary/story/0,,1372973,00.html]
Veritas - Latin for "truth" - was officially founded in a press conference on
2 February, during which Kilroy-Silk proclaimed "unlike the old parties, we shall be honest, open and straight", devoid of the other parties' "lies and spin". There were a number of defections from UKIP to the new party. They included UKIP London Assembly member Damian Hockney, who became deputy leader. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4227921.stm]
At the time of formation, its primary policy was opposition to
immigration to the United Kingdom. It was pursued to be more specific than UKIP's general euroscepticism, and almost to the point of Veritas being labelled a single-issue party. Kilroy-Silk also proposed support for the introduction of flat taxin opposition to the existing system of income tax bands varying with income. Kilroy-Silk's preferred figure was 22%, the "basic rate" band in which most UK citizens fell at the time.
The party was immediately lambasted as nothing more than a vanity vehicle for Kilroy-Silk, and was nicknamed "Vanitas" by former allies [Burkeman, O., [http://www.guardian.co.uk/guardianpolitics/story/0,,1404364,00.html Kilroy was there] , "
The Guardian", 3 February 2005. Retrieved 11 October 2007.] . It was criticised also for its use of a Latin name given its staunch opposition to Britain in the EU.
The first test of Veritas' ambitions was the 2005 general election on
5 Maywhere it had hoped to overtake UKIP as the primary party opposing the European Union. Although " The Times" newspaper had suggested that Veritas hoped to run candidates in every constituency in Great Britain, the party ended up fielding 65 candidates in England and Wales, polling 40,481 votes, an average of 623 (1.5%).
Kilroy-Silk contested the constituency of Erewash in
Derbyshire. He came fourth with 2,957 votes (5.8%); Liz Blackmanwas elected for Labour with 22,472. No Veritas candidates were elected; Kilroy-Silk was the only one to save his deposit.
In the subsequent Cheadle by-election on the
14 July 2005Les Leggett of Veritas polled 218 votes (0.6%).
In the wake of the poor showing in the general election, it was reported that there were many resignations from the party. Some discontented party members came to oppose Kilroy-Silk and formed the Veritas Members Association (VMA). One of its founders, Ken Wharton, challenged Kilroy-Silk for the leadership on
12 July 2005, during the Cheadle by-election campaign but his challenge faltered due to ill health. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4675795.stm]
Kilroy-Silk resigned as party leader on
29 July. In a press statement he said "It was clear from the general election result - and more recently that of the Cheadle by-election - that the electors are content with the old parties and that it would be virtually impossible for a new party to make a significant impact given the nature of our electoral system. We tried and failed". [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4728941.stm]
Further resignations included that of his chief-of-staff
David Soutterand deputy leader Damian Hockney. Hockney and London Assembly UKIP representative, Peter Hulme-Crosssubsequently formed the One Londonparty.
A leadership election was held in September 2005. Acting leader
Patrick Estondefeated Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Colin Brown, and former boxer Winston McKenzieon a 22% turnout. This, combined with a poor turnout at the party's first Annual General Meeting, is believed to have brought about the subsequent resignation of Brown along with the founders of the VMA. Eston appointed a new party chairman, Alan Ainscow, who resigned from that post and the party in November. As defections and resignations continued, a number of members and former members, including Anthony Bennettand Ken Wharton, formed a new party, the Popular Alliance in March 2006. Eston nonetheless appointed a deputy, Howard Martin, who also is the main Veritas Party spokesperson, and seems determined to continue with the party, despite the depletion of the Veritas membership.
In the 2006 local elections, Veritas stood four candidates: two each in
Kingston-upon-Hulland Bolton. They polled an average of 98 votes each (3.5% of the total).
In the 2007 elections, Veritas stood three candidates: two in English council elections and one - Iain James Sheldon in the
Mid and West WalesRegion for the Welsh Assembly, who received 502 votes (0.2% of the total).
In the summer of 2007, Patrick Eston contacted the leadership of other parties with similar political positions with a view to organising a meeting to discuss co-operation. While all parties contacted a later meeting was being arranged for September between Eston and the leaders of the Freedom Party and
United Kingdom Popular Democratswho had shown interest [ [http://www.veritasparty.com/news.html Proposed meeting on the 31st of August] ] .
On 15 June 2008 Patrick Eston announced that he could not take the Veritas Party in the direction he wanted and so would be resigning the party leadership. In a resignation letter to the party membership he said:"I have come to the reluctant conclusion that the only way a new political party can move forward is for one person to have complete control and take all the decisions. However, I believe that members must have a say on whether that person stays as leader on a yearly basis. A sort of benevolent dictator that members can remove yearly if they so wish."
Therese Muchewicz, Party Secretary is to serve as Acting Leader pending a leadership election.
* [http://politics.guardian.co.uk/otherparties/story/0,,1539084,00.html The Guardian Article - 29 July 2005, Kilroy Quits as Veritas Leader]
* [http://www.guardian.co.uk/diary/story/0,,1714109,00.html The Guardian Diary - 21 February 2006, Local Elections]
* [http://www.veritasparty.com/Video/PatrickOnGaunty.mp3 Talk Sport - 30 November 2006, Patrick Eston interview]
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