Ukip leader Gerard Batten scares off one-time top Kipper
Will the last person to leave please turn the lights off?
Another week, another MEP has left Ukip in protest at newish leader Gerard Batten’s bizarre determination to turn them into some kind of fan club for Tommy Robinson.
Former Daily Express journalist-turned Ukip East of England MEP Patrick O’Flynn has explained his decision in a blog.
“Since Gerard Batten became Ukip leader I have tried to use my influence to persuade him to maintain his focus on Brexit and abandon an apparent and growing fixation with Tommy Robinson ...
“I have reached the sorry conclusion that UKIP under its current direction and at this decisive moment has become an impediment to the Brexit campaigning that I have energetically pursued for many years.
“The key question in British politics now is which party are millions of sensible, moderate Brexit voters betrayed by establishment parties but wishing no tie-up with Tommy Robinson supposed to vote for? The answer, alas, is clearly not Ukip.”
O’Flynn was once the party’s economic spokesman and one of Nigel Farage's top strategists. He is now joining the Brexit-backing SDP who he insists are “resurgent”.*
It is not that first time that the outspoken O’Flynn has hit out at a Ukip leader, having previously called Farage a “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” man.
Whether Ukip will miss his campaigning prowess remains to be seen. Earlier this month, he called for a picket outside Downing Street against the "Government Brexit sell-out".
Alas just four people turned up…
Resurgent means literally a "rising again". According to Wikipedia, the SDP got just 125 votes in the 2015 general election. In the 2017 general election they went up to 469 votes. Which is a rise of sorts…