European Election ballot papers may confuse the public into voting for a breakaway party over UKIP, according to Political Betting.
In nine English regions the first party listed on the paper will be “An Independence from Europe Party”, whereas the UK Independence Party (UKIP) will be at the bottom of the paper.
The new party is headed by Mike Natrass, who used to be a UKIP MEP. His party will benefit from rules that put political parties in alphabetical order on ballot papers, because he created a party with a name that begins with the letter a.
UKIP candidate for the South-West England, Gawain Towler, told the BBC: “It is a transparent attempt to get to the top of the list, but they could have called it the Aardvark Party if they’d just wanted to do that. They’re not allowed to pass themselves off as someone else. They are trying to cause as much trouble as they can.”
News of this new party has echoes of an incident in 1994 when the Liberal Democrats claims to have lost a European seat because a party called the Literal Democrats also appeared on the ballot paper. In the 1990s the Lib Dems sued unsuccessfully.
UKIP are clearly angry about “An Independence from Europe Party” but now it has been accepted by the Electoral Commission they are unlikely to be able to do anything about it.