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Friday, June 19, 2015

UKIP split again

Just when you thought that UKIP could not splinter anymore the Guardian reports that their most prominent female politician Suzanne Evans has been sacked as a media spokesman after she gave a television interview saying Nigel Farage was seen by voters as a “very divisive character”:

Evans, who was formerly an ally of Farage and was at one point anointed by him as acting leader, incurred the displeasure of her boss after she made the comments on the BBC’s Daily Politics.

“I think Nigel is a very divisive character in terms of the way he is perceived,” she said. “He’s not divisive as a person but the way he is perceived is as having very strong views that divide people. So in that sense I think he is right. I think it will be someone else who actually fronts [the EU exit campaign].”

On Thursday afternoon, the Ukip press office then issued a “directive” to sever contact with Evans and refused to offer her up as a media spokesman on any issue. She was not to be briefed or advised on any subject.

A senior source at Ukip’s HQ said on Thursday afternoon that Evans’s position had become untenable, that her comments were “surprising and disappointing”, and that Farage was “pretty angry and perplexed”.

The source said: “I think that, speaking to a number of people, Suzanne’s position is now untenable. I would suspect she probably thinks that as well. In no other party would you have such a situation. It would be akin to Theresa May going on television and saying she thought the prime minister was a deeply divisive figure.

“Theresa May wouldn’t expect to be in her job three hours later. That would be tantamount to a resignation speech … Everybody needs to understand that that sort of behaviour and comment in public and on the television is just unacceptable.”

An email was then leaked to the BBC showing the directive to the Ukip press office not to contact Evans again.

As the paper points out Evans is one of Ukip’s best-known female politicians and was named by Farage as his preferred choice to succeed him as acting leader after the election, before he reversed his decision four days later.

It seems that the only thing keeping UKIP together is the prospect of leading the 'no' campaign in the European referendum.
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