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UKIP 'in meltdown' as members quit to launch new party
THE UK Independence Party is in meltdown in Worcestershire - with an entire group of activists sensationally quitting to form a breakaway group.
West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass and Carl Humphries, UKIP’s best known organiser in Worcester, have teamed up to launch a new political party.
Mr Humphries is a former Worcester city councillor and UKIP election candidate who has been working behind the scenes for years recruiting new party members.
Mr Nattrass, who quit UKIP last month after being deselected from next year’s European elections following rows with leader Nigel Farage, has launched ‘An Independence Party’.
To add to the drama, two other UKIP activists resigned yesterday to join the new party - saying they were fed up with being “dictated to”.
UKIP’s Worcester branch treasurer Jim Holtom, and chairman Doug Ingram have tendered their resignations.
The new party is now staging a meeting in Droitwich next Thursday and is aiming to recruit members to stand for election.
Its logo is an EU flag with the word ‘out’ plastered across it, and Mr Nattrass says it will have similar right wing ideals as UKIP.
The breakaway is a blow to UKIP’s Worcestershire ambitions, and comes just five months after it made an historic breakthrough at the county council by winning its first ever clutch of seats.
Mr Nattrass said: “Nigel Farage wants to run UKIP his own way and doesn’t want people like me to suggest improvements.
“The way it’s being run is nonsense and it is time for change - the levels of support I have got for this shows that.
“Our logo is an EU flag with ‘out’ on it, which shows what we are about - we’re also totally against the HS2 simply because I don’t see it as worthwhile.”
Mr Humphries said: “I resigned from UKIP last week to help this new party - it won’t be people at the top saying ‘we’ll dictate to you how to behave’, it’ll be run from the bottom.
“UKIP stabbed Mike in the back. Head office wants to meddle in everyone’s affairs, I feel it has lost its way.”
UKIP has already hit back by saying Mr Nattrass is trying to “imitate” the party, and has contacted the Electoral Commission.
A spokesman said: “We are concerned by what we perceive as his attempt to imitate UKIP’s name which we believe is not permitted under election regulations.
“Therefore the party secretary has contacted the Electoral Commission to review Mr Nattrass’ proposals and prevent any potential confusion for the electorate in distinguishing between the two parties come election time.”
An Independence Party will have its launch meeting at The Old Cock Inn in Friar Street, Droitwich on Thursday November 7 at 7.30pm.