Ukip under Henry Bolton’s leadership is on life support. Bolton is, of course, hopeless and the way he has handled himself since becoming the leader proves that he is not fit to be the leader of the party.
The problem UKIP has is that while it has had 3 useless leaders since Nigel Farage stood down, Diane James, Paul Nuttall and Henry Bolton none of them have answered the central problem the party faces which is what does the party stand for in the post-Brexit post-Farage era?
When I stood for party leader in 2016 I was the only leadership candidate that set out what the party had to do. We had to broaden the message of the party by talking about more than just Europe and Immigration we needed to talk about the other policy areas the economy, NHS and law and order. We also had to change the tone as the banning of the burka policy at the last election showed how stupidly bad the party got that wrong. I set out how the party should become a party that stands for protecting the NHS, tougher policies on law order, lower taxes, smaller government controlled immigration and strong defence. I warned the party that if we didn’t do these things we risked becoming irrelevant which is exactly what has happened. My arguments have been proved right. And until these fundamentals change then the party will continue to be in a state of permanent decline.
So what now well Bolton has lost a vote of no confidence at the NEC 14 to 1 the decision will now go to the members. I am very sure that the members will ratify that decision. Which means the party will have to have its 4th leadership contest in 18 months which is a statement of how much crisis the party is in. The party has been so badly damaged over the last 18 months I’m not sure if anyone would stand to be the leader.
It’s a disgrace that a people’s party like UKIP has upped the leadership deposit to 5,000 pounds and the percentage to get your deposit back is now 20% of the vote, both of these hurdles are far too high and would certainly stop any of us decent candidates running for the leader ever again.
Ultimately the party is on life support if it wants to get off it and survive it must first get rid of Bolton, second lower the leadership money and percentage, third hope some good candidates run, fourth hope a sensible good candidate wins and really reforms and changes the party root and branch as I have talked about. I must say I’m not going to hold my breath.
Phillip Broughton Former Leadership Candidate