This was at Guido’s and I’m calling BS on it:
As many of you will know I served as UKIP’s Head of Candidates and Head of Vetting for 18 months and was asked to rule on many such instances as Steven Woolfe’s offence.
In the past three/four days I have been asked for my opinion on the matter of the Woolfe candidacy by many people. Here it is.
UKIP when I joined had no actual policy of how to deal with people who transgressed, there was no actual policy or guidelines in place and despite repeated attempts to have guidelines approved I was blocked by the then party Chairman from bringing these ideas that I had before the NEC to be approved. In the end we applied a set that were used unapproved and were the NEC were asked on each occasion if they supported my decision on a particular candidate, they did on about 80% of occasions. I have to say the term Wisdom of Solomon seemed an appropriate phrase but in the maelstrom of the last 8 months it was hard to get it right every time. The rules applied were thus;
1 The party would stand by a member or candidate if they were voluntarily questioned by the police.
2 The party would stand by a member who was questioned under caution or who was taken to a police station having been arrested.
3 The party would stand by someone who was charged with an offence BUT would ask that person to stand down from any official position e.g. Chair, candidate spokesman until the matter had been resolved. The party believed that a person was innocent until proven guilty.
4 On being found guilty or pleading guilty the party would take such action as the NEC at a disciplinary hearing saw fit. At least two instances occurred here one which resulted in expulsion another with 6 months suspension.
The Woolfe matter falls into the later category as he has admitted the offence in the press, this is not an ‘alleged’ offence. He has however not been convicted of the offence as yet. If this case the candidates’ office would have applied Rule 3 above and asked the person to step down with a sanction to suspend or remove them should they refuse.
He has a point about Woolfe leaving it until the last moment and then being caught out. But the very pedantic nature of 11:43 versus 12.17, let alone who the hell these faceless people deciding are, let alone the Carwell/Hamilton/Evans factor, let alone the drink driving, which raises yet more issues – this needs resolution before the conference.
EGM is the only way, so that the Davids can put their point of view and the membership can decide whether they even want this NEC in its current form or not. This is too big an issue for the NEC to airily pronounce from on high, ‘Done deal, there it is, lump it.’
Brexit was a vote of the people. This NEC thing had none of that democratic voice to it, just as the May coronation was a stitch up.
If members decide that Woolfe had, in fact, trasngressed, well OK. But it needs an EGM.