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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

UKIP fight over the spoils

I am always astonished at how quickly we settle back into familiar political patterns of behaviour once a General Election is out of the way. This is especially true of UKIP who apparently cannot help themselves.

The Times reports that a furious row has broken out at UKIP over the party’s plans for millions of pounds of public money secured after its record election result.  They say that Douglas Carswell, the party’s only MP, has said that UKIP should not take the full £650,000-a-year windfall that it is entitled to after winning 3.9 million votes:

Party officials, however, argue that they have a duty to represent the millions of people who voted for the party and should make the use of all available resources to do so.

They are said to have taken a proposal to Mr Carswell yesterday to hire 15 members of staff to perform research and conduct administrative work.

He has sought to block the proposal. The MP told The Times: “I am not a senator, for goodness’ sake. I don’t need 15 staff.”

He has said that Ukip should accept just £350,000, arguing that it would be hypocritical for the anti-establishment party to “get on the gravy train”.

The public funding, known as Short Money, is granted by Commons authorities to help opposition parties with their parliamentary work.

Tensions between Mr Carswell, a former Conservative MP, and his new party have reached new lows in recent days since the resignation and subsequent reinstatement of Nigel Farage as party leader.

Following Mr Farage’s resignation from the role last week after he failed to win his own South Thanet seat, the MP for Clacton made clear that he thought the party should make a fresh start under a new leader.

He said that Ukip was “not a one-man show” and that the party members “need to reflect”.

He was informed of Monday’s decision by the Ukip national executive to return Mr Farage to the helm by a journalist, and was furious that no one in the party had told him.

Of course as Mr Carswell is the party's only MP he has an advantage in the latest row. Were he to become so furious with his new party that he chose to become an independent or defect to another party, Ukip would no longer be eligible for the money. This could become interesting.
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