Paul Nuttall, UKIP’s outgoing deputy leader, has called for a new, elected National Executive Committee (NEC) and said he “fears for the very future of our party” unless the “cancer” of infighting ends.
“UKIP has not been a happy champ for over a year”, began Mr. Nuttal at the UKIP conference Friday. He explained he could now “be frank” as he is stepping down.
He claimed there had been “internal navel gazing schemes” going on in the party and called for members “to let bygones be bygones” and “focus on fighting UKIP’s enemies and not on fighting each other”.
Specifically, he wants “some form of constitutional reform” and spoke of “the need for… a party board” with “elected representation from the party membership”.
He also took aim at the NEC, which was widely attacked after blocking leadership favourite and Nigel Farage ally Steven Woolfe from standing on a technicality.
The NEC claimed he had submitted his application late, but many suspected the move was politically motivated as NEC members are known to be anti-Farage.
In the wake of the scandal, Mr. Nuttall said the party must now have “an NEC that is elected by the regions”.
“Do not allow democracy within the party to be taken away… Do not allow the party to become like the European Commission that you have destroyed. It needs to be accountable,” he pleaded.
“Today is a breakwater in the history of this party”, insisted the straight talking Liverpudlian. “The party resembles a jigsaw that has been emptied onto the floor – and the new leader must put it back together,” he blasted.
On the topic of the next leader, he said they “must be a unifier, not a divider” and must “seek compromise [and] bring people together”.
“They must not lead what the Westminster media calls a Farageista UKIP or a Carswell UKIP. They must lead UKIP!” he shouted to the crowd.
He also said that as a “new guard” takes lead of the party, for himself and Mr. Farage “standing down must mean standing down” as UKIP would not “benefit [if we] backseat drive”.