UKIP have faced a nightmare few days as another candidate has left its ranks, only weeks before the General Election.
Following the suspension of MEP Janice Atkinson who, along with her chief of staff Christine Hewitt is being investigated by Kent Police, the party has lost another two candidates ahead of May’s vote.
Stephen Howd, a barrister who was the prospective parliamentary candidate for Scunthorpe is fighting an allegation made against him in the work place, which he says are “contested” and has been suspended by the party pending the outcome.
And another election candidate and policy advisor has also resigned, citing ‘handling issues in Scotland’ as a key reason for his departure.
Jon Stanley, a surgeon who is also studying for a PhD at Edinburgh University, was said to be “appalled” by the comments made by the party’s Scottish MEP David Coburn and said the party should “ask yourself why Scotland has gone so badly wrong, despite repeated warnings.”
“The language of English nationalism and the sectarian outfit in Scotland have been corrosive to the Eurosceptic movement and to Unionism,” he wrote.
The candidate for Westmorland and Lonsdale, who used to be teasurer for the party in Scotland, has previously spoken out against the region’s leadership including current Chairman Misty Thackeray who once described Glasgow City Council as “Gays, Catholics [and] Communists” in an online rant. He also said Catholicism was based on “fascist ideology” and complained of a “suffocating culture of anti-loyalism” in the city. He also criticised attempts to stop a protest by the far-right Scottish Defence League.
In his resignation, seen by Breitbart London, he thanked the branches in South Cumbria for ‘working very hard’ in the constituencies but was unapologetic in criticising the performance of the North West region’s MEPs.
‘I have no issue stating the regional MEPs in terms of the use of their tax funded facilities, positive media output and engagement with South Cumbria leave much to be desired,’ he wrote, in an attack on the three UKIP MEPs Paul Nuttall, Louise Bours and Steven Woolfe.
But he also expressed his disappointment and frustration in what he perceived as the lack of action over health policy, and was critical of the “lazy” culture of the MEP’s office staff.
“The recent refusal to give any attention to the biggest hospital scandal since Mid Staffs, the Kirkup report, was particularly disappointing,” the NHS surgeon said, referring to the Morecambe Bay hospital scandal which is in the region that the party’s health spokesperson and MEP Louise Bours represents.
The Morecambe Bay Investigation was set up by the Health Secretary in 2013 following concerns over serious incidents in the maternity department at Furness General Hospital (FGH). The report concluded that the maternity unit at the hospital was dysfunctional and that serious failures of clinical care had led to unnecessary deaths of mothers and babies.
Writing to the party’s chairman, Mr Stanley said he “accepted” his opinion as a departing member “has little weight” but urged “senior elected members, with the exception of Nigel [Farage], to seriously up their game and in some cases handle their briefs more professionally.
Mr Stanley is said to be a big admirer of Mr Farage and the huge effort he puts into leading UKIP, but told Breitbart London that the leader was being “seriously let down by the rest of his team”.
A UKIP North West spokesman said: “We are treating Mr Stanley’s comments regarding the North West MEPs with the incredulity they deserve.
While it may be a week the party wishes hadn’t happened, it has been praised by supporters and political observers alike for the swift and decisive action it takes against any candidate accused of wrong doing.
This could be said to be in stark contrast to other parties, for example Labour who have welcomed an ex BNP councillor into their ranks and this week had an MP, John Woodcock, apologise for using parliamentary resources for a fundraising campaign.