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Tuesday, April 25, 2017
Paul Puts The Country First!
Putting our country first
Published Apr 23, 2017
UKIP Leader Paul Nuttall writes, "What does a party leader go into a
general election hoping for? That’s normally a pretty easy question to answer –
as many votes as possible for his party at the expense of every other party and
every other candidate in the field.
"But at this general election it is a lot more complicated than that.
Because UKIP was set up to restore Britain’s status as a self-governing
democracy and this election comes with that ambition tantalisingly within
"Generations of UKIP activists campaigned and leafleted through wind and
rain with the ambition of getting our country out of the EU. And some never
lived to see the glorious day when our magnificent referendum victory was
"In memory of such people and to be true to the founding principles of my
party I must ensure that we work at all times to advance the practical cause of
Brexit in Parliament, in the country at large and in the negotiating chambers of
the European Union.
"That means, to put it in shorthand, adhering to the principle of country
before party in the changed political circumstances that pertain
"Surprisingly enough, Theresa May did not consult me about her decision
to hold a general election three years before she needed to. She did not make a
pitch to me about why she needed a bigger majority to give her the political
momentum necessary to secure a full and clean Brexit.
"So I am left to make a series of judgments based on imperfect
information. Is the biggest Tory majority possible actually in the interests of
Brexit or might it place too much power in the hands of Mrs May who was, after
all, a Remainer during the referendum?
"If UKIP were to stand everywhere on June 8, might we risk damaging good
Brexit MPs and allowing Remainers to oust them? Might we also risk allowing
incumbent Remainer MPs to cling on when they do not deserve to?
"There are some who would like me to implement a cast iron rule that says
UKIP will not stand against any incumbent MP who campaigned for Brexit. And yet
that would let off the hook lots of what I call “five to midnight” Brexiteers –
careerists who could have gone either way and happened to reach the conclusion
that backing Brexit at the last moment was the best thing for them
"I could not possibly order UKIP branches not to stand against such
people if they wanted to. The shallow careerists have switched one way before
and could easily switch the other way in future.
"Equally, this election is not only about Brexit. There are stacks of
other issues from the ridiculous foreign aid bill to the parlous state of the
NHS, from the cuts to our police force to the continuing lack of control over
the volume of immigration. I know that if UKIP does not speak for common sense
on such issues then nobody else will.
"I also know that the broadcasters will at least in part base their
future coverage of UKIP on our vote share at this election. So the fewer seats
we stand in the lower our share will be and the less coverage we will get in the
"So what am I going to do? The answer is talk to my party grassroots and
treat every constituency on a case by case basis. If, for example, the UKIP
branch in St Albans decides it does not wish to oppose Anne Main who worked with
them so well during the referendum and yet now faces a Lib Dem challenge, am I
going to insist that they do? Probably not.
"If our branch in North Norfolk decides that standing against the Lib Dem
Remainer Norman Lamb will actually help him hold the seat against a Tory
Brexiteer, will I force them to? Again, probably not.
"Were I a UKIP member living in Vauxhuall would I be busting a gut to
field a candidate against Kate Hoey? I rather doubt it.
"So over the next week or so, many conversations will take place between
UKIP HQ and our local branches. It will be as much an art as a science. In some
cases I will argue for us standing aside. But I will not order it if our local
branch is unpersuadable. After all, they will know the lie of the land better
than I do.
"I expect that in the vast majority of cases we will reach a consensus
about whether to stand or whether to step aside. Because in the end I have the
privilege to lead the most patriotic party of modern times. Our members will
always put their country before party and their country before