||This article may be too long to read and navigate comfortably. (January 2015)|
|UK Independence Party|
|Leader||Nigel Farage MEP|
|Deputy Leader||Paul Nuttall MEP|
|Founded||3 September 1993|
Newton Abbot, Devon
|Youth wing||Young Independence|
|Membership (October 2014)||40,094 |
|European affiliation||Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe|
|European Parliament group||Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy|
|House of Commons|
|House of Lords|
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
|Politics of the United Kingdom
The UK Independence Party, commonly known as UKIP (//), is a Eurosceptic and right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1993 by members of the Anti-Federalist League with the primary objective of securing the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union.
The party is led by Nigel Farage, with deputy leader Paul Nuttall. UKIP has two Members of Parliament, three representatives in the House of Lords and twenty-three Members of the European Parliament, making it the largest UK party in the European Parliament. In October 2014, UKIP reported a membership of over 40,000.
The party made its first significant breakthroughs in the 2013 local elections, when it came fourth in the number of council seats won and third in nationwide vote share, and in the 2014 European elections when UKIP received the most votes, the first time for over a century that a party other than Labour or the Conservatives has won a United Kingdom wide election.
Founding and early years
UKIP was founded in 1993 by Alan Sked and other members of the cross-party Anti-Federalist League, a political party set up in November 1991 with the aim of fielding candidates opposed to the Maastricht Treaty. The nascent party's primary objective was withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. It attracted a few members of the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party, which was split on the European question after the pound was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 and the struggle over ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. UKIP candidates stood in the 1997 general election, but were overshadowed by James Goldsmith's Referendum Party. (The Referendum Party contested 547 seats. In the 165 seats contested by both, the Referendum Party beat UKIP in all but two - Romsey and Glasgow Anniesland, the latter by just two votes.)
After the election, Sked resigned from the leadership and left the party because, he said, it contained members who "are racist and have been infected by the far-right" and was "doomed to remain on the political fringes". However, Goldsmith died soon after the election and the Referendum Party was dissolved, with a resulting influx of new UKIP supporters. The leadership election was won by the millionaire businessman Michael Holmes, and in the 1999 elections to the European Parliament UKIP gained three seats and 7% of the vote. In that election, Nigel Farage (South East England), Jeffrey Titford (East of England) and Michael Holmes (South West England) were elected.
Over the following months there was a power struggle between Holmes and the party's National Executive Committee (NEC). This was partly due to Holmes making a speech perceived as calling for greater powers for the European Parliament against the European Commission. Ordinary party members forced the resignation of both Holmes and the entire NEC, and Jeffrey Titford was subsequently elected leader. After Holmes resigned from the party itself in March 2000, there was a legal battle when he tried to continue as an independent MEP until he resigned from the European Parliament in December 2002. Holmes was then replaced by Graham Booth, the second candidate on the UKIP list in South West England.
UKIP put up candidates in more than 420 seats in the 2001 general election, attaining 1.5% of the vote and failing to win any representation at Westminster. It also failed to break through in the elections to the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly, despite those elections being held under proportional representation. In 2002, Titford stood down as party leader, but continued to sit as a UKIP MEP. He was replaced as leader by Roger Knapman. In 2004 UKIP reorganised itself nationally as a private company limited by guarantee, with the legal name of United Kingdom Independence Party Limited, though branches remained as unincorporated associations.
2004 to 2012
2004 European elections and 2005 general election
In late 2004, the mainstream UK press speculated on if or when the UKIP MEP, former Labour Party MP and chat-show host Robert Kilroy-Silk would take control of the party. These comments were heightened by Kilroy-Silk's speech at the UKIP party conference in Bristol on 2 October 2004, in which he called for the Conservative Party to be "killed off" following the by-election in Hartlepool, where UKIP finished third (with 10.2%) above the Conservatives in fourth (9.7%).
Interviewed by Channel 4 television, Kilroy-Silk did not deny having ambitions to lead the party, but stressed that Roger Knapman would lead it into the next general election. However, the next day, on Breakfast with Frost, he criticised Knapman's leadership. After further disagreement with the leadership, Kilroy-Silk resigned the UKIP whip in the European Parliament on 27 October 2004. Initially, he remained a member, while seeking a bid for the party leadership. However, this was not successful and he resigned completely from UKIP on 20 January 2005, calling it a "joke". Two weeks later, he founded his own party, Veritas, taking a number of UKIP members, including both of the London Assembly members, with him.
In the 2005 general election, UKIP fielded 495 candidates and gained 618,000 votes, or 2.3% of the total votes cast in the election, and did not win a seat in the House of Commons. This result placed it fourth in terms of votes cast nationally. Its best performance was in Boston & Skegness, where Richard Horsnell came third with 9.6% of the vote.
Following the 2005 general election, Kilroy-Silk resigned from Veritas after its performance in the election, the party having received only 40,607 votes. In April 2006 David Cameron, during a phone-in on London's LBC radio station, described UKIP members as being "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly." Farage asked for an apology. but Cameron did not back down. On 12 September 2006, Farage was elected leader of UKIP with 45% of the vote, 20% ahead of his nearest rival.
2009 European elections
On 28 March 2009, the Conservative Party's biggest-ever donor, Stuart Wheeler, donated £100,000 to UKIP after criticising David Cameron's stance towards the Lisbon treaty and the European Union. He said, "If they kick me out I will understand. I will be very sorry about it, but it won't alter my stance." The following day, 29 March, he was expelled from the Conservative Party.
2009 leadership election
In September 2009, Nigel Farage announced that he would be resigning as leader of the party in order to stand for Parliament against the Speaker, John Bercow. The leadership election was contested by five candidates - Malcolm Pearson, Gerard Batten, Nikki Sinclaire, Mike Nattrass and Alan Wood - and was won by Malcolm Pearson with just under half of the 9900 votes cast 
2010 general election
UKIP fielded 572 candidates in the 2010 general election;. Lord Pearson asked some prospective candidates to stand down in favour of Eurosceptic Conservative and Labour MPs. However, some refused to do so. This did not stop Lord Pearson from campaigning on behalf of the Conservative candidates stating that he was "putting country before party". These decisions drew some criticism from within the party from the likes of Michael Heaver of Young Independence.
In the election the party polled 3.1% of the vote (919,471 votes), an increase of 0.9% on the 2005 general election, but took no seats. This made it the party with the largest percentage of the popular vote to win no seats in the election.
In Buckingham, the seat of the Speaker John Bercow, Farage obtained 17% of the vote, despite receiving some level of support from Lord Tebbit, a senior Conservatives figure. Farage came third behind Bercow and John Stevens, the Buckinghamshire Campaign For Democracy candidate, a Europhile and former Conservative MEP. UKIP was also third in three other constituencies: North Cornwall, North Devon and Torridge and West Devon. Farage's result was the best of all UKIP candidates that the party put forward in the 2010 general election.
2010 leadership election
Lord Pearson resigned as leader in August 2010. The subsequent leadership election was contested between Nigel Farage, Tim Congdon, David Bannerman and Winston McKenzie and won by Farage with more than 60% of the vote. During his acceptance speech, Farage spoke out against the leadership of the Conservative Party, and Conservative policy on Europe. Lord Pearson, the previous leader, welcomed Farage's re-election, and said "The UKIP crown returns to its rightful owner."
2011 and 2012
UKIP contested two by-elections in early 2011, with candidate Jane Collins coming second in Barnsley Central with 12.2% of the vote and Paul Nuttall finishing fourth in Oldham East and Saddleworth with 5.8% of the vote. Farage welcomed Collins's success and said that UKIP should now aim to replace the Liberal Democrats as the third largest party, saying "The Lib Dems are no longer the voice of opposition in British politics – we are. Between now and the next general election our aim is to replace them as the third party in British politics."
UKIP fielded 1,217 candidates for the 2011 local council elections, a major increase over its previous campaigns, but not enough to qualify for a party election broadcast on television. UKIP said that the party was well-organised in the South East, South West and Eastern regions, but there were still places across the country where there were no UKIP candidates standing at all.
Across the country, many UKIP candidates came second or third. UKIP in Newcastle-under-Lyme gained a total of five seats on Newcastle Borough Council in 2007 and 2008 and three seats on Staffordshire County Council in 2009. Although UKIP did not poll well, it made gains across many parts of England, as well as taking control of Ramsey town council with nine UKIP councillors out of 17. Whilst UKIP made gains and losses, the party fell short of Farage's predictions of major gains. The UKIP MEP Marta Andreasen called for Farage's resignation as leader of the party.
In October 2012, David McNarry, a member of the Northern Ireland Assembly who had been elected as an Ulster Unionist, joined UKIP after being expelled from the Ulster Unionist Party, becoming UKIPs second representative in Northern Ireland alongside Henry Reilly, a councillor in Newry and Mourne.
On 29 November 2012, UKIP finished in second place in the 2012 Rotherham by-election, with 4,648 votes (21.7% of the votes cast). This was the highest percentage share recorded by UKIP in any parliamentary election (although it had polled a greater number of votes in the 2012 Corby by-election and also in Buckingham in the 2010 general election, where its candidate was Nigel Farage). Its candidate, Jane Collins, had previously been the only UKIP candidate to come second in any UK parliamentary election, at Barnsley Central in 2011. UKIP also came second in 2012 in the Middlesbrough by-election and third in the Croydon North by-election, which were held on the same day as Rotherham.
2013 to present
In the Eastleigh by-election on 28 February 2013, the party's candidate Diane James polled the highest percentage (27.8%) and number of votes (11,571) ever for a UKIP parliamentary candidate. UKIP came second, 4.26% (1,771 votes) behind the Liberal Democrats who retained the seat. The Conservatives were pushed into third place with a quarter of the vote and the Labour Party into fourth place with less than 10% of the vote.
2013 local elections
In the run-up to the 2013 local elections, UKIP continued to do well in opinion polls and put up a record number of candidates for the party, despite a number of controversies over individual candidates in the weeks before the elections with the BBC reporting that UKIP was investigating "six candidates over links to the BNP and other far right groups or alleged racist and homophobic comments, following stories in national and local newspapers." Since 2008 UKIP has banned former BNP members from joining UKIP. Several candidates were suspended from the party for racist views. UKIP accused the Conservative Party's Central Office of trawling through candidates' online presences to "smear" the party, but acknowledged that it did not have the time or money to vet all of its candidates.
In the 2013 county council elections across England, the party achieved its best ever local government result, polling an average of 23% in the wards where it stood, and returning 147 elected councillors. It made significant gains in Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Kent, taking 15, 16 and 17 seats respectively. It was described as the best result for a party outside the big three in British politics since the Second World War. A Guardian/ICM poll in the week after these elections placed UKIP third in national polls, with nationwide support of 18%. However, analysis suggests that in one considered scenario[clarification needed] this level of support would not be enough to win any seats at the next general election, and UKIP "face an uphill struggle to secure more than a handful of MPs". By 11 June 2013 UKIP had dropped 6 points in the Guardian/ICM poll, to join the Liberal Democrats on 12%. However by 16 June Comres had UKIP support at 19%  and Observer/Opinium at 20%.
Though winning councillors and gaining impressive vote shares in by-elections in England, UKIP has not been able to make any similar advance in Scotland, a trend that was confirmed in the Aberdeen Donside by-election on 20 June 2013, when the UKIP candidate came 5th, losing his deposit with 4.8% of the vote.
According to Farage, interviewed on 24 January 2014, UKIP's general election manifesto in 2010 was "drivel" and "nonsense". Though Farage had written the foreword and helped to launch it, he said he had never read the 486 pages of policy documents that were published alongside UKIP's manifesto, which had been written by its then policy chief, David Campbell Bannerman; Farage commented, "The idiot that wrote it has now left us and joined the Conservatives." The party was working on new policies which would be unveiled by the end of 2014, he said.
Farage pledged in January 2014 that he would end the selection of so-called 'Walter Mitty' candidates who bring the party into disrepute. This was interpreted as a rejection of comments made by David Silvester, a former Conservative Party councillor and a (now former) UKIP councillor in Henley-on Thames, who had made comments blaming recent floods in Britain on prime minister David Cameron because he had been responsible for the introduction of same-sex marriage.
2014 local elections
2014 European elections
In March 2014, Ofcom awarded UKIP "major party status" for the 2014 European Elections, but only in England and Wales and not on a permanent basis. This will give UKIP the same number of party election broadcasts as the three larger parties as well as having its views given "due weight" in broadcast news on ITV and Channel 5. A BBC source indicated that it will also do this.
UKIP received the greatest number of votes (27.49%) of any British party in the 2014 European Parliament election and gained 11 extra MEPs for a total of 24. The party won seats in every region of Great Britain, including its first in Scotland, which Farage called a "breakthrough". It was the first time in over a century that a party other than Labour or Conservatives won the most votes in a UK-wide election. Farage said the result would change British politics fundamentally.
Heywood and Middleton by-election
The 36-point increase in UKIP support was one of the biggest surges ever recorded in a by-election. Only in six previous contests on the UK mainland has a party added more votes to its tally than UKIP managed in Heywood.
First elected MPs
UKIP gained its first elected MP with Douglas Carswell winning the seat of Clacton by 12,404 votes on 9 October 2014. His 21,113 votes (59.75%) represented a 44% swing from the Conservative party, from whom Carswell had defected, his resignation having triggered the Clacton by-election.
UKIP's organisation is divided into twelve regions. It also has a branch in Gibraltar.
UKIP in Scotland was led by Christopher Monckton (The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley) and chaired by Mike Scott-Hayward until late 2013, when the Scottish administration was dissolved and the Scottish section of the party "wiped out" following what was described in The Herald newspaper as a "civil war" between the Scottish leadership and challengers favoured by Farage. The dispute concerned the selection of candidates for the European Parliament election in 2014; seven of the nine shortlisted candidates resigned their candidacy immediately before Scottish members were balloted to pick the final six, in protest at what they saw as an unfair balloting process. The ballot was delayed but eventually went ahead with fresh candidates and on 25 February 2014 at Glasgow's Grand Central Hotel, UKIP Scotland announced its full list of candidates for the election.
Commentators have observed that "Ukip in Scotland has failed to replicate the party's success south of the Border". In the 2010 UK general election UKIP Scotland's candidate Robert Smith saved his deposit in the seat of Orkney and Shetland, winning 6.3% of the vote. In 2013 UKIP candidates came fifth narrowly losing their deposit in the Aberdeen Donside by-election and also fifth in the Dunfermline by-election. However, at the start of 2014 in the Cowdenbeath by-election for the Scottish Parliament, UKIP came 4th, outpolling the Scottish Liberal Democrats for the first time.
When Nigel Farage visited Scotland during a by-election campaign in May 2013, protesters from the Radical Independence Campaign interrupted his press conference in the Canon's Gait pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile and forced him to be taken away in an armoured police van. Protesters have similarly protested Farage's appearance on a Question Time episode hosted in Scotland.
|Wikinews has related news: 300 protesters greet Farage's return to Edinburgh|
Citing its consistently lower poll numbers in Scotland compared with England, First Minster Alex Salmond dismissed UKIP as "irrelevant". He and other commentators claimed that this apparent divergence might be a significant factor in the independence referendum in September 2014, arguing that a strong result for UKIP in England in the 2014 European parliamentary elections, coupled with a poor result in Scotland, might help push Scottish voters towards supporting independence. During the elections, however, UKIP achieved more than 10% of the vote in Scotland, winning its first Scottish MEP, David Coburn, and gaining over 140,000 votes.
UKIP Wales is headed by Warwick Nicholson and is divided into the same areas as those for the Welsh Assembly. UKIP Wales has grown over the last six years[when?] since the election of John Bufton as UKIP's first MEP in Wales. He retired in 2014 to be replaced by Nathan Gill from Anglesey. The UKIP result in Wales was described by Farage as a great success and one of the best in the 2014 European Elections. The party polled 27.55% of the vote (second to Labour with 28.15%), overtaking the Conservatives and Plaid Cymru.
UKIP Northern Ireland
UKIP in Northern Ireland is led by the UKIP MLA for Strangford; David McNarry. Brian Higginson is the Regional Organiser in Northern Ireland. The Kilkeel councillor Henry Reilly, is the Northern Ireland Regional Branch Chair, Deputy Chair is Carrickfergus based Councillor Noel Jordan and Secretary is Alan Lewis. UKIP's three other current Councillors in the Region are Portadown based Councillor David Jones, Belfast Councillor Alderman Bob Stoker and North Down based Councillor, John Montgomery. UKIP has one Member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, David McNarry MLA. The party is registered as unionist in the Northern Ireland Assembly. At the 2014 local elections the party gained two seats, increasing its number of councillors In Northern Ireland to four and in the 2014 European Elections won over 24,000 votes in Northern Ireland.
UKIP Gibraltar operates as a branch of UKIP in the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It held its first public meeting at the "Lord Nelson" on 25 April 2013. UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that Gibraltar, along with all other British Overseas Territories, should have representatives in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, similar to the privileges given to French overseas territories in France. Farage believes that all citizens for whom the British Parliament passes legislation, whether in the United Kingdom or its territories, deserve democratic representation in that Parliament.
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Although UKIP's original raison d'être was withdrawal from the European Union, it was felt that the public perception of the party as a single-issue party was damaging electoral progress. Farage, on becoming leader, started a wide-ranging policy review, his stated aim being "the development of the party into broadly standing for traditional conservative and libertarian values". The party has described itself as a "patriotic" and "democratic, libertarian party".
During the party's 2014 Summer Conference, it began outlining some policies that would be included in its 2015 manifesto, a sample of which was released in October the same year.
UKIP advocates leaving the European Union, resulting in stopping payments to the EU and withdrawal from EU treaties, while maintaining trading ties with other European countries. Nigel Farage says Britain can get a "simple free trade agreement", and says that Britain can negotiate its own free trade agreements around the world without participation in EU trade agreements. For example, UKIP suggests that Britain can create a Commonwealth Free Trade Area.
In its 2010 general election manifesto, UKIP stated that leaving the EU would allow Britain to "regain three essential Freedoms" and stated a belief in civic nationalism, which it says "is open and inclusive to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain, regardless of ethnic or religious background" while contrasting that with what it described as the "blood and soil" nationalism of extremist parties.
Taxation and economy
It would introduce a 35p income tax rate for taxable income between £42,285 and £55,000, with the 40p rate payable above that.
A Treasury Commission would be set up to design a turnover tax to ensure big businesses pay a minimum floor rate of tax as a proportion of their UK turnover.
On 29 December 2013, Nigel Farage told the BBC that the UK should allow Syrian refugees to enter the UK, while continuing to limit "economic migration". The next day he clarified his position, suggesting that Britain should allow refuge primarily to the persecuted Christian minority in Syria, however other minorities should also be considered for refuge in the UK. His views were rejected by the government.
UKIP recognises the benefits of limited, controlled immigration. It wishes to leave the EU, and "take back control of the UK borders". Work permits would be permitted to fill skills gaps in the UK jobs market.
A points-based system for time-limited work permits would extended to existing EU citizens . Those coming to work in the UK must have a job to go to, must speak English, must have accommodation agreed prior to their arrival, and must have NHS-approved health insurance.
Migrants would only be eligible for benefits (in work or out of work) when they have been paying tax and National Insurance for five years and would only be eligible for permanent residence after ten years.
The "primary purpose rule" would be reinstated for bringing foreign spouses and children to the UK.
The party would not offer an amnesty for illegal immigrants or those gaining British passports through fraud.
Britain would return to the principles of the UN Convention of Refugees which serves to protect the most vulnerable.
Although Farage has spoken in favour of an insurance-based health care system, UKIP's policy is to keep the National Health Service (NHS) and GP visits free at the point of use, as opposed to privatisation. Farage denies that he ever advocated an American-style model, but had expressed an opinion that an insurance-based French and Dutch style system could work. However his opinion was out-voted at the NEC stage. He has commented, "we may have to think about ways in the future about dealing with health care differently".
- The party has said it would stop further use of Private finance initiative (PFI) in the NHS and encourage local authorities to buy out their PFI contracts early where this is affordable.
- Visitors and migrants to the UK would be required to have NHS approved private health insurance as a condition of entry to the UK, unless they have paid National Insurance for five years, saving the NHS an estimated £2bn per annum. UKIP has further promised to commit £200m of the £2bn saving to end hospital parking charges in England.
- Monitor and the Care Quality Commission would be replaced with elected county health boards to be more responsive scrutineers of local health services. These will be able to inspect health services and take evidence from whistle-blowers.
- The sale of NHS data to third parties is strongly opposed by UKIP.
- It would ensure that foreign health service professionals coming to work in the NHS are properly qualified and can speak English to a standard acceptable to the profession.
- Working time rules would be amended to give trainee doctors, surgeons and medics the proper environment in which to train.
- There would be a duty on all health service staff to report low standards of care.
European Court of Human Rights
UKIP wants to repeal the Human Rights Act and remove Britain from both the European Convention on Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights to "enable us to deport foreign criminal and terrorist suspects where desirable" while still "allow[ing] genuine asylum applications in accordance with our international obligations".
Agriculture, fisheries and animal welfare
UKIP has announced its intention for the UK to leave the Common Agricultural Policy and that, outside the EU, UKIP would institute a British Single Farm Payment for farms, and letting the British Parliament vote on GM foods.
The UK would also leave the Common Fisheries Policy and reinstate British territorial waters. Foreign trawlers would have to apply for and purchase fishing permits to fish in British waters when fish stocks have returned to sustainable levels.
Food sold in the UK would have to be labelled to include the country of origin, method of production, method of slaughter, hormones and any genetic additives.
The export of live animals for slaughter would be abolished completely.
UKIP fully supports the British monarchy and its constitutional role. In 2012, it opposed disestablishment of the Church of England and said it would consider a transfer of part of the Crown Estates back to the Monarchy, in exchange for an end to annual State support.
In November 2012, David Coburn, an openly gay member of UKIP's National Executive Committee, stated the party's policy on same-sex marriage: the party supports civil partnerships but opposes legislation allowing same-sex marriage because of concerns that a law change could mean that faith groups and places of worship would be forced to perform same-sex marriages.
Energy, environment and climate change
For the 2015 General Election, UKIP has announced that it would repeal the Climate Change Act 2008, estimating that it costs the economy £18bn a year.
UKIP supports a diverse energy market including coal, nuclear, shale gas, geo-thermal, tidal, solar, conventional gas and oil.
They wish to also scrap the Large Combustion Plant Directive and encourage the redevelopment of British power stations as well as industrial units providing on-site power generation.
The party supports the development of shale gas with proper safeguards for the local environment. Community improvement levy money from the development of shale gas fields would be earmarked for lower council taxes or community projects within the local authority being developed.
There would be no new subsidies for wind farms and solar arrays. UKIP would also abolish green taxes and charges in order to reduce fuel bills.
UKIP has announced that for the 2015 general election it will pledge to resource fully the UK's military assets and personnel.
The party would guarantee that those who have served in the armed forces for a minimum of 12 years would be found a job in the police force, prison service or border force.
A veterans' department would bring together all veterans' services to ensure servicemen and women receive the after-service care they "deserve". Veterans would also receive a "Veterans' Service Card" to ensure they are fast tracked for mental health care and services if needed. UKIP also announced that it would introduce a National Service Medal for all who have served in the armed forces.
Welfare and childcare
UKIP opposes the "bedroom tax".
UKIP intends to make child benefit payable only to children permanently resident in the UK, and limit it to the first two children of a family.
UKIP would set an initial presumption of 50/50 shared parenting in child custody matters. They would also give grandparents visitation rights to their grandchildren.
UKIP supports a "simplified, streamlined welfare system" and a "benefit cap".
UKIP recognises and values an overarching, unifying British culture, which is open and inclusive to anyone who wishes to identify with Britain and British values, regardless of their ethnic or religious background.
Official documents would be published in English and, where appropriate, Welsh and Scots Gaelic.
The party would ensure that the law is rigorously enforced in relation to 'cultural' practices which are illegal in Britain, such as forced marriages, female genital mutilation and so-called 'honour killings'.
A full review of the BBC licence fee with a view to its reduction would be undertaken. Non-payment of the license fee would be taken out of the criminal sphere and made a civil offence.
The smoking ban would be amended to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms that were properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas.
Democracy and the constitution
UKIP would overcome what it claims to be the "unfairness" of MPs from devolved nations voting on English-only issues.
UKIP supports the recall of MPs, if 20% of the electorate in a constituency sign a recall petition within eight weeks.
A Citizens' Initiative would be introduced to allow the public to initiate national referenda on issues of major public interest.
UKIP would introduce an option for students to take an apprenticeship qualification instead of four non-core GCSEs which can be continued at A-Level. Students could take up apprenticeships in jobs with certified professionals qualified to grade the progress of the student.
Subject to academic performance, UKIP would remove tuition fees for students taking approved degrees in science, medicine, technology, engineering or mathematics, on the condition that they live, work and pay tax in the UK for five years after the completion of their degrees.
The target of 50% of school leavers going to university would be scrapped. Students from the EU would be required to pay the same student fee rates as international students.
UKIP supports the principle of Free Schools that are open to the whole community and uphold British values.
Existing schools would be allowed to apply to become grammar schools and to select pupils according to ability and aptitude. Selection ages will be flexible and determined by the school in consultation with the local authority.
Employment and small businesses
UKIP would allow businesses to discriminate in favour of young British workers and would repeal the Agency Workers Directive.
A skills review would be encouraged to better inform the education system and qualifications. UKIP would simplify planning regulations and licenses for commercial properties vacant for over a year.
The right of appeal for micro businesses against HMRC action would be extended.
The party would review all legislation and regulations from the EU and remove those which are deemed to hamper British prosperity and competitiveness.
A new trade agreement would be negotiated with the EU to enable the UK's business to continue to a mutual advantage.
Britain would opt out of the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or European Economic Area (EFA) under UKIP as long as those treaties rely on the principle of free movement of labour, which prevents the UK managing its own borders.
Britain's seat at the World Trade Organisation would be reclaimed, ensuring that the UK would continue to enjoy 'most favoured nation' status in trade with the EU, as is required under WTO rules.
UKIP would target foreign aid to health care initiatives, inoculations against preventable diseases and clean water programmes with a much-reduced aid budget administered by the Foreign Office.
British organisations would be offered the contracts to deliver the remaining aid following removal of the EU Procurement Directive.
Housing and planning
Planning rules in the NPPF would be changed to make it easier to built on brownfield sites instead of greenfield sites. Central government is to list the nationally available brownfield sites for development and issue low-interest bonds to enable decontamination.
Houses on brownfield sites would be exempt from Stamp Duty on first sale and VAT relaxed for redevelopment of brownfield sites.
UKIP would allow planning permission for large-scale developments to be overturned by a referendum triggered by the signatures of 5% of the district or borough electors collected within three months.
Law and order
UKIP would withdraw from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.
It would reverse the British government's opt-in to EU law and justice measures, including the European Arrest Warrant and European Investigation Order. It would replace the EAW with appropriate bi-lateral agreements.
The party believes that full sentences should be served and this should be taken into account when criminals are convicted and sentenced in court. Parole should be available for good behaviour on a case-by-case basis, not systematically.
The Human Rights Act would be repealed and replaced with a new British Bill of Rights. The interests of law-abiding citizens and victims would always take precedence over those of criminals.
UKIP opposes giving prisoners the right to vote.
Tolls on public roads would be opposed and the party would let existing contracts for running toll roads expire.
The pensioner and disabled persons' bus passes would be maintained.
Foreign vehicles would be required to carry a "Britdisc", before entry to the UK, in order to contribute to the upkeep of UK roads and any lost fuel duty.
UKIP would ensure that speed cameras are used as a deterrent and not used as a revenue raiser for local authorities.
|-||Craig Mackinlay||1997||Acting leader|
|2||Michael Holmes, MEP||1997–2000||MEP from 1999–2004|
|3||Jeffrey Titford, MEP||2000–2002||MEP from 1999–2009|
|4||Roger Knapman, MEP||2002–2006||MEP from 2004–2009|
|5||Nigel Farage, MEP||2006–2009||MEP from 1999|
|6||Lord Pearson of Rannoch||2009–2010|
|-||Jeffrey Titford||2010||Acting leader|
|(5)||Nigel Farage, MEP||2010–present|
House of Commons
In 2008, Dr Bob Spink, the MP for Castle Point, resigned the Tory whip (becoming an Independent) but in April joined UKIP. However, from 24 November he appeared again as an Independent in Commons proceedings,
In 2014, two Conservative MPs changed allegiance to UKIP and resigned their seats to fight by-elections for UKIP. Douglas Carswell won the Clacton by-election on 9 October, making him the first MP to be elected representing UKIP. Mark Reckless was also victorious in the Rochester and Strood by-election on 20 November.
House of Lords
On 24 June 1995, UKIP gained its first member of the House of Lords, Lord Grantley, who had joined the party in 1993 from the Conservatives and had recently succeeded to his father's titles. However, with the coming House of Lords Act 1999, he decided not to stand for election as a continuing member, and so left the House in November 1999. Earlier in 1999, UKIP had gained a second peer in the House of Lords, Richard Thomas Orlando Bridgeman, 7th Earl of Bradford, but he, too, left the House in November 1999 because of the House of Lords Act. The Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Lord Willoughby de Broke both defected to UKIP on 7 January 2007, giving the party its first representation in the House of Lords since the departure of Lord Grantley and the Earl of Bradford. The Lord Pearson of Rannoch went on to serve as party leader from November 2009 to September 2010. On 18 September 2012, The Lord Stevens of Ludgate joined UKIP, having sat as an Independent Conservative since his expulsion from the Conservatives in 2004.
|Northern Ireland Assembly|
Northern Ireland Assembly
On 4 October 2012, UKIP, gained its first representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly in David McNarry, MLA for Strangford, who had been sitting as an independent, following his expulsion from the Ulster Unionist Party.
Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament
UKIP do not currently have any representatives in the other devolved nations of Scotland or Wales. UKIP fielded candidates at the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May 2011, when its platform included a commitment to keep the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh, while replacing the separately-elected Members of the Scottish Parliament with the Members of the House of Commons elected in Scotland. The party also fielded candidates for the National Assembly for Wales.
As a result of the 1999 European parliament election, three UKIP MEPs were elected to the European Parliament. Together with Eurosceptic parties from other nations, they formed a new European parliamentary group called Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD).
Following the 2004 European parliament election, 37 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden founded a new European Parliamentary group called Independence and Democracy (IND/DEM) as a direct successor to the EDD group.
After the 2009 European parliament election, UKIP was a founder member of a new right-wing grouping called Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) comprising Eurosceptic, nationalist, national-conservative and other political factions. This group was more right-wing than the previous term's Independence and Democracy group.
Following the 2014 European parliament election, the EFD group was reconstituted as the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD or EFD2) group on 24 June 2014, with a significant changes to group composition, including the Five Star Movement (M5S) of Italy, a total of 48 members. The EFDD group lost official status on 16 October 2014 when the defection of the Latvian MEP Iveta Grigule meant its membership no longer met the required number of states for Parliamentary groups (at least seven different member states). The EFD claimed that Grigule had said she left the bloc under pressure from the EU Parliament Speaker Martin Schulz, but a spokesman for Schulz denied this. It was reported Grigule told the secretary general of the EFDD Group that "I had to do it [defect] to get elected." On 20 October, EFD announced it had restored the requisite seven state diversity by recruiting Robert Iwaszkiewicz, one of four representatives of the far-right Polish party Congress of the New Right.
In December 2014 UKIP co-founded a European political party known as Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), whose membership is composed of several member parties of the EFDD parliamentary group.
In response to criticism of low participation by UKIP MEPs in the EU Parliament, Farage has said that "Our objective as MEPs is not to keep voting endlessly for more EU legislation and to take power away from Westminster." In the 2009-14 parliament, UKIP ranked 76th out of 76 for attendance, took part in 61% of votes, and had three of six lowest attending MEPs, which led to criticism from other parties and ex-UKIP MEPs that low participation may damage British interests.
On 24 January 2015, UKIP MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, Amjad Bashir left UKIP and joined the Conservatives. On the same day, UKIP announced his membership was suspended as he was being investigated over several allegations of impropriety. Bashir described the allegations as "absurd and made up".
Current members of the European Parliament
UKIP has 23 members in the European Parliament, with representatives in eleven of the twelve European Parliament constituencies in the UK.
Source: The Independent, 27 May 2014
The first UKIP local council election win occurred when one of their members was elected to South Cambridgeshire District Council in 2000. A number of Conservative, Liberal Democrat, Labour and Independent local councillors in all four constituent nations of the UK have defected to UKIP over subsequent years, with the most recent defections to date (May to July 2013) coming from former Conservative councillors in the London Boroughs of Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Havering, and from Labour in Northampton and North-East Lincolnshire. In May 2013, 33 English and one Welsh council held local elections, with UKIP gaining 139 seats for a total of 147, with significant gains in Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Kent.
On 6 May 2011, the party won nine of the seventeen seats for Ramsey Town Council in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Before the election, the party had only one seat in the town council. On 12 May, UKIP councillor Lisa Duffy was elected as Mayor. The UKIP group leader for Huntingdonshire District Council said that the town council under UKIP would "be standing up for volunteers and the third sector and will be making grants to them to help the big society develop." The Daily Mail said that UKIP "has made political history after taking control of its first council in the UK".[dated info]
At the 2013 and 2014 local elections, UKIP made significant gains to become the fourth largest party in terms of councillors in England, and fifth largest in the UK with over 300 seats (out of about 21,000).
Defections and removals
Defections to UKIP
On 12 October 2011, Roger Helmer announced that he would resign from the European Parliament at the end of the year, citing "increasing disillusion with the attitudes of the Conservative Party" as the main reason, although admitting that his "twelve-and-a-half years banging my head against the same brick wall in Brussels is perhaps long enough". It was announced on 2 March 2012 that he had defected from the Conservatives to the United Kingdom Independence Party.
On 28 August 2014, Conservative MP for Clacton Douglas Carswell resigned in his defection to UKIP and leading to a by-election in his Clacton constituency, he stood for and won as UKIP, leading to the first UKIP Member of Parliament.
Just a month after the defection of Carswell, a second Conservative MP - the MP for Rochester and Strood Mark Reckless - announced his defection to the party at UKIP's annual conference in Doncaster.
In December, Ian Luder, a former Lord Mayor of London, joined UKIP becoming the Parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock at the 2015 General Election He had previously been a Labour Party councillor in Bedford and was the party’s parliamentary candidate for Yeovil in 1979.
MEP Defections from UKIP to the Conservatives
David Campbell Bannerman defected from UKIP to the Tories on 24 May 2011. 'He said he had been "impressed" by David Cameron's leadership while UKIP was beset by "internal fighting" and was not a "credible" political force.'
Marta Andreasen defected from UKIP to the Conservative Party in February 2013, describing leader Nigel Farage as "a Stalinist" who was "anti-women". Previously Andreasen has called for current UKIP leader Nigel Farage to resign over poor local election results in May 2011.
Removals and suspensions
In March 2010, the UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire was expelled from UKIP after resigning from the EFD grouping, citing her displeasure at what she perceived to be racist and extremist parties that belong to the EFD Group. Sinclaire also cited the deterioration of her relationship with Farage, the co-leader of the EFD group. Sinclaire was subsequently expelled from UKIP for refusing to be part of the EFD group. She later won a sex discrimination claim against her former colleagues, to which UKIP did not lodge a defence, and the ruling went against the party by default.
Mike Nattrass failed a candidate assessment test in August 2013 and was deselected by the party for the 2014 European election. He took the party to court over the decision, but lost. In September 2013, Nattrass resigned from UKIP, becoming an Independent MEP in the process. Natrass described Farage's leadership of the party as "totalitarian", following his earlier deselection. He was the fourth UKIP MEP elected in 2009 to leave the party.
Godfrey Bloom whilst sitting as a UKIP MEP, and a senior party member made statements that have been described as "sexist". A few weeks after being appointed to the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality on 20 July 2004, Bloom told an interviewer that, "no self-respecting small businessman with a brain in the right place would ever employ a lady of child-bearing age." After inviting students from the University of Cambridge Women's Rugby Club to Brussels in 2004, Bloom was accused of sexual assault, making "sexist and misogynistic remarks" and using offensive language during a dinner party. Bloom, who sponsored the club with £3,000 a year, admitted making misogynist comments but denied sexual harassment. On 20 September 2013, UKIP withdrew the party whip from Bloom after he assaulted journalist Michael Crick in the street, threatened a second reporter, and at the party's conference jokingly referred to his female audience as sluts. Bloom sat for the remainder of his term as an independent MEP. In October 2014, Bloom announced that he was leaving the party, citing disagreements with the party chairman Steve Crowther, about whether he was able to speak publicly in an official UKIP capacity. He warned the new UKIP MP Douglas Carswell to "watch his back".
At the end of 2012, Olly Neville, the interim chair of UKIP's youth wing, Young Independence, was fired for saying that European elections were a "sort of sideshow," and for expressing support for same-sex marriage. A few days later, the prospective Parliamentary candidate for Chester, Richard Lowe, resigned under pressure, because of his support for same-sex marriage and immigration, and his "lukewarm anti-EU stance."
On 8 December 2014, UKIP’s General Secretary Roger Bird was suspended following "allegations of impropriety" in relation to candidate selection. A statement on the party’s website said: "Unfortunately, UKIP has had to suspend Mr Bird pending a full investigation into allegations made against him. The party has acted swiftly and decisively and will not tolerate impropriety of any kind amongst its staff." The following day, prospective parliamentary candidate Natasha Bolter told the BBC’s Newsnight programme that Bird had propositioned her during the process to select her as a party candidate. Bird denied her claims, saying that he had had a "consensual relationship" with her. In response, Bolter told Newsnight: "I know he is lying because I did not sleep with Roger Bird".
House of Commons
|Election year||# of total votes||% of overall vote||# of seats won|
|Election year||# of total votes||% of overall vote||# of seats won||Rank|
Opinion polling for the 2015 general election
The chart shows the relative state of the parties from 13 May 2010 to the date the next election is held, with each line's colour corresponding to a political party: blue for the Conservatives, red for Labour, yellow for the Liberal Democrats, green for the Green party and purple for the UKIP. Each dot represents a party's results in opinion polls, the lines are then created by a 15-day trend line.
UKIP's membership numbers increased from 2002 to the time of the 2004 European Parliament election, before hovering around the 16,000 mark during the late 2000s. By July 2013, the figure grew to 30,000 before ending the year at 32,447. In 2014, the number was 36,000 on 22 April, by 7 May reached 37,000 and on 19 May, less than a fortnight later and only three days before the 2014 European Parliament election, rose to 38,000. On 29 October 2014, Patick O'Flynn MEP, UKIP's Director of Communications announced that membership had grown to 40,094, almost doubling since 2012.
On 15 January 2015, it was claimed that the combined membership of the UK's Green parties (Green Party of England and Wales, Scottish Green Party, and Green Party in Northern Ireland) had risen to 43,829 members, surpassing Ukip’s membership, and thereby making the Greens the third-largest UK-wide political party in the UK in terms of membership. (The Scottish National Party (SNP), has a membership of 92,187 members but is not a UK-wide party.)
In 2011, the British academics Matthew Goodwin, Robert Ford and David Cutts published a study that identified Euroscepticism as the main causal factor for voters supporting UKIP, with concern over immigration levels and distrust of the political establishment also featuring as important motives. The average UKIP voter was 55 years old, which is older than for other parties. There was no correlation between social class and likelihood of voting UKIP, although UKIP voters tended to feel more financially insecure than the average voter. The skilled working class were found to be slightly overrepresented amongst UKIP voters, and there was a higher likelihood that a UKIP voter had grown up in a Conservative-supporting household compared to the average voter.
In the same year, a study by Richard Whitaker and Philip Lynch of the University of Leicester, based on polling data from YouGov, concluded that "the balance of attitudinal explanations of UKIP support makes its voters distinct from those voting for far right parties". The authors found that voter support for UKIP correlated with concerns about the value of immigration, hostility to immigrants and a lack of trust in the political system but the biggest explanatory factor for their support of UKIP was Euroscepticism. A further study by the same authors suggests that UKIP voters' core beliefs align very closely to those of the UKIP candidates; particularly so on issues surrounding European integration, which has resulted in Conservative voters switching to UKIP due to divisions within the Conservatives over this issue.
In May 2013, Stephan Shakespeare, the CEO of YouGov, analysed the reasons for the strong support and performance of UKIP in the 2013 local elections. He observed that voter research showed UKIP had "very loyal" followers, with a high proportion of ex-Conservative voters, and that the primary reason for support was a sense by voters that UKIP "seemed to be on the same wavelength" as the population, was perceived as "genuine", "simply different", and that, by tapping into the "anti-politics mood", became contrasted strongly with "the others [who] haven't got a clue about the real world". He concluded that "you just don't get this [perception] with other party leaders, not even from their supporters". Noting also that 23% of voters reported giving "serious consideration" to voting UKIP, and that non-UKIP voters were "only half as likely to mention immigration or Europe" as existing UKIP voters. He also concluded that these potential voters were "best won" by providing a "broad agenda".
Lord Glasman, an adviser to Labour leader Ed Miliband, said that in his opinion Labour voters who defected to UKIP may never return because the party is failing to address concerns on welfare and immigration.
An analysis of UKIP support from surveys in October 2014 conducted by YouGov, showed increasing support from former Labour and, to a lesser extent, Liberal Democrat voters. The polling by YouGov reported that the proportion of UKIP's supporters who were former Labour voters had doubled since January 2013 (7% to 13%) and grown from former Liberal Democrat supporters (15% to 17%), with former Conservative supporters down from 60% to 48%.
In terms of the religion of UKIP voters, the party performs strongly among the Anglican, Presbyterian and Baptist electorate while also gaining significant support from Roman Catholics but struggles with attracting Muslim voters.
Among young voters, UKIP support is minimal. According to an Opinium/Observer poll in December 2014 on the views of 17 to 22 year olds, Nigel Farage is the least popular political leader. Only 3% of young people questioned said that they intended to vote for UKIP, compared with 19% among voters of all ages. The 17% who said they would vote outside the three main parties were four times more likely to vote for the Green Party than for UKIP.
According to UKIP's annual returns to the Electoral Commission, in 2013 the party had a total income of £2,479,314. Of this, £714,492 was from membership and subscriptions, £32,115 from fundraising activities and £1,361,640 from donations. By law, individual donations over £7,500 must be reported. These amounted to £412,012 in cash and £121,962 donations in kind.
UKIP has several high profile backers. On 28 March 2009, the Conservative Party's biggest-ever donor, Stuart Wheeler, donated £100,000 to UKIP after criticising David Cameron's stance towards the Lisbon treaty and the European Union. He was subsequently expelled from the Conservatives and, in 2011, appointed treasurer of UKIP to spearhead fundraising for the 2014 European election campaign. His appointment was seen as a blow for the Conservatives because of his network of contacts. In total, Wheeler has donated more than £403,690 since 2009, including £150,000 in February 2014.
In December 2014, Richard Desmond, proprietor of Express Newspapers, donated £300,000 to UKIP. Desmond had made Lord Stevens, the UKIP peer and the former chairman of Express Newspapers, his deputy chairman in October. The donation indicated that Desmond's papers, the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday, will back UKIP in the run-up to the 2015 general election.
According to The Guardian, a leaked internal report to UKIP’s executive committee dated 3 September 2012 shows the party’s leader argued that "the key to money for us will be the hedge fund industry". Reviewing the party’s recent successes the report said, "It is very interesting. We are very close to the tipping point of being able to do something very very big.....The type of people we are talking to has changed. People who would have slammed the door in our face 3 years ago are inviting us. The key to money for us will be the hedge fund industry."
Other major backers include:
- Paul Sykes' Highstone Group (£401,192 for advertising in May 2014).
- Clare Barbour, the wife of the former Tory donor Patrick Barbour. (£100,000 in November 2013),
- John Malcolm Richards (£68,858 in December 2013).
- Christopher Mills, a co-founder of JO Hambro hedge fund (£50,000 in 2014).
- Robin Birley, the socialite owner of a Mayfair nightclub and stepson of Sir James Goldsmith (£50,000 in 2014).
- Crispin Odey, hedge fund manager whose former father-in-law is the News Corp chairman, Rupert Murdoch. Odey is not a member of UKIP, but gave a party at his Odey Asset Management offices in 2014 to introduce Farage to potential supporters and donors.
- Andy Brough, fund manager at Schroders.
The BBC received almost 1,200 complaints about its coverage of the 2014 European and local elections, saying it was biased towards UKIP. The BBC denied any bias. UKIP politicians including Nigel Farage have accused the BBC of a liberal bias, particularly on issues of immigration, the European Union, and climate change.
Parties created by former UKIP members
Veritas - Latin for "truth" - which has been described as a breakaway party from UKIP, was founded at a press conference on 2 February 2005, during which Kilroy-Silk proclaimed "unlike the old parties, we shall be honest, open and straight", devoid of the other parties' "lies and spin". There were a number of defections from UKIP to the party including the UKIP London Assembly member Damian Hockney, who became deputy leader. (Damian Hockney and Peter Hulme-Cross had been elected to the London Assembly in June 2004 as UKIP representatives, then switched to Veritas).
- One London
After the failure of Veritas, Damian Hockney and Peter Hulme-Cross formed One London on 1 September 2005. One London was registered as a party in November 2005 and was de-registered in November 2008.
- An Independence from Europe
An Independence from Europe was set up by the former UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass on 11 November 2013. Nattrass has said that the celebrity chef Rustie Lee, and a former Welsh minister are amongst his supporters. The party stood in every constituency in England at the 2014 European Parliament elections. An Independence from Europe used the ballot paper description "UK Independence Now", drawing complaints from UKIP due to the similarity of the name and the party's description. Three former UKIP councillors on Lincolnshire County Council have also joined the party.
- We Demand a Referendum
- New Deal
- British Freedom Party and Liberty GB
Former UKIP candidate Paul Weston founded the defunct British Freedom Party and later Liberty GB, having left the party mainly due to what he described as its failure to address issues around Islam in Britain.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2014)|
|President||David Coburn, Jill Seymour|
|Founded||6 October 2007|
|Membership||2,906 (November 2014)|
|Mother party||UK Independence Party|
Young Independence (YI) is the youth wing of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and represents all UKIP members under the age of 30.
The wing was formed during the 2007 annual UKIP conference by the then NEC member Delroy Young. Originally, YI was formed to encompass all UKIP members aged thirty-five and under,.
In 2013, the YI chairman Olly Neville was fired by the party, reportedly for supporting same-sex marriage. YI's treasurer Allrik Birch, election officer Gareth Shanks, Yorkshire chairman Arnie Craven, and the Yorkshire deputy chairwoman Christina Annesley resigned in protest. Other party members have come out in support of same-sex marriage, however, such as the chairman and prospective Parliamentary candidate in Wakefield, Nathan Garbutt, questioning whether Neville really was removed for supporting the issue at hand: "if he had been removed for favouring gay marriage, the question stands; ‘Why have I not been removed too?’".
Another incident came a few days later when the YI Northwest chairman and prospective Parliamentary candidate for Chester Richard Lowe was 'forced to quit' because of a lack of confidence from the branch over his support for same-sex marriage and other views that 'clashed with UKIP policy'.
- Bruges Group (Eurosceptic thinktank)
- Euroscepticism in the United Kingdom
- Opinion polling for the next United Kingdom general election
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