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Friday, March 25, 2016

UKIP civil war continues as election deadline approaches

Just when you think that UKIP cannot be any more publicly split, their lead candidate in South Wales Central jumps back into the fray.

The Western Mail reports that UKIP's controversial South Wales Central lead candidate Gareth Bennett has called for the deselection of his running mate Alex Phillips, the party’s press officer. They say that a letter sent by Mr Bennett to Ukip Wales leader Nathan Gill accuses Ms Phillips, currently the party’s number two candidate in South Wales Central, of conspiring to get him deselected by advising him to agree to an interview with WalesOnline:

The letter – headed “solicitor’s letter” but without the name of a solicitor – states: “My client now suggests that the following actions be taken.

“That my client should deposit the required £15,000 [to cover election expenses] in the Ukip Wales bank account but subject to the confirmation that he is not about to be deselected as a candidate.

“That, due to a gross conflict of interests, Alex Phillips should be deselected as a list candidate for South Wales Central.”

The letter also asks that “my client is relieved of all further media or hustings events during the campaign as he can no longer retain any confidence in the staff of the campaign and media officer to support his candidacy”.

The letter concludes: “Please note that, if my client is deselected, the Ukip political party would face a legal action of £300,000 in lost earnings [over a five-year Assembly term] and would also face the prospect of paying my client’s legal costs in the event of losing the case.”

The row has even spilled over into my area, with Business consultant Llyr Powell, who has been selected to stand for Ukip in Neath and the South Wales West region, confirmed he had told the party that if Mr Bennett remains as a candidate he will quit his own candidacies:

He said: “I was shocked by Gareth Bennett’s comments, which I consider wholly unacceptable and ludicrous. It is totally wrong to blame problems with rubbish on people of a certain ethnicity.

“I am aware that around 15 Ukip candidates have called on the party’s national executive committee to deselect him.”

You could not make this stuff up.
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