The UKIP parliamentary candidate for Wells has resigned, claiming his local party has been taken over by “Occultists”. Jake Baynes had intended to run in next year’s general election but has now decided to stand down as a UKIP candidate, according to the Daily Mail.
Mr Baynes, who is a teacher, claims that activists Glen and Colleen Tucker have mounted a “continuous campaign” against him, and that they are “oddballs” who worship the occult. Supporters of Baynes claim the Tuckers run an “angelic healing group” in the Somerset town of Glastonbury.
The Tuckers have defended themselves by saying that they are not the “fruitcakes and loonies” often joked about in UKIP. They also say that despite getting 1,711 votes at the 2010 general election, and being reselected by the local party in Wells, Baynes is not up to the job of candidate. They deny deliberately stirring up trouble.
According to their website, Glen and Colleen Tucker, practice “alternative healing” and work “hand in hand with the Angelic Realms…and Galactic Beings”. One of My Baynes’ allies described them as belonging to “the Glastonbury occult crowd.”
Graham Livings, who has also resigned from his post as branch manager, said of the Tuckers: “They put on these weekend retreats where they guarantee the angels will be present. They are oddballs. The public can be very wary of that sort of thing. UKIP has a prescribed list which states that no one who has been a member of the BNP or the English Defence League should be a member.
“But when they sat down and wrote out the prescribed list, they wouldn’t have thought to put occultists down.
“I’m nervous about the occult and many people I know who’ve seen that these people are involved in UKIP have said, ‘well, I’m not voting UKIP with them in position’. These people say that they take angelic guidance and defer in all things to St Michael the Archangel – and at the same time we’re experiencing such vitriol and bile from them.”
Mr Baynes explained: “There has been a continuous campaign by people who, for some reason didn’t want me selected, to work their very hardest to oust me.
“It’s got so bad that I really want to get out of it – I don’t want to get involved in politics again. I’ve realised politics is a very ugly, dirty business, and I want nothing more to do with it.
“Glastonbury has many different quirky things about it, and that’s what makes it unique. I love that. But I don’t think it has a place in politics, especially when you are in conversation with the Archangel. I don’t think I have experienced any of their [the Tucker’s] angelic healing in my career and the campaign they have against me.”
Glen Tucker who stood unsuccessfully as a UKIP candidate in the county council elections a couple of years ago said of Mr Livings: “He accused us of being part of the occult, which is ridiculous. What we do here has nothing to do with our involvement in UKIP. We’re stalwarts of the community in Glastonbury.
“He is confused, if he thinks it is an occult he really doesn’t understand what we do. We are spiritual people.”
Although the dispute will be embarrassing for UKIP, it comes at a time when they are focusing resources in seats like Thanet South that they have a genuine chance of winning. In Wells last time they may have done more harm than good because their 1,711 votes probably cost Conservative Eurosceptic David Heathcote-Amory the seat. Instead the much more pro-European Tessa Munt won the seat for the Liberal Democrats.
After the European Elections, Nigel Farage promised a tighter vetting regime for candidates to ensure fewer gaffs in the future.