Leave.EU founder and former UKIP donor Arron Banks has slammed UKIP’s leadership for “crash[ing] the car at the first bend” in Thursday night’s local elections, harming the legacy of Nigel Farage.
Mr. Banks argued UKIP should have focused on Brexit and “positive radical policies”, rather than “Muslim issues”, as well as continuing to put “country before party” by not standing against pro-Brexit MPs from other parties.
“If we use the analogy of UKIP as a racing car, Nigel was a skilled driver who drove the car around the track faster and faster, knowing when to take risks, delighting the audience.
“The current leadership has crashed the car, at the first bend of the race, into the crowd, killing the driver and spectators,” Mr. Banks wrote on the Leave.EU website.
Mr. Banks said it was undeniable the forthcoming general election was a “second [Brexit] referendum”, and argued the party should have focused on delivering Brexit instead of switching focus to cultural issues.
“Make no mistake there is a major Islamic problem in the UK which needs to be addressed but this election is all about delivering Brexit and the most effective way to achieve that.
“Within a day of announcing their new policy, UKIP’s poll rating dropped from 11 to 6 percent as Tory-leaning UKIP voters rightly concluded this is about delivering Brexit and the other issues just don’t matter in this election.
“Today’s local election results show that,” he wrote.
The party was right, however, to cut deals with strongly pro-Brexit MPs from other parties. “Such a selfless act for the benefit of the nation would have been guaranteed to reward UKIP in the longer term,” he said.
Mr. Banks, a close personal friend of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, praised the leadership of the MEP, who stepped down as leader after the Brexit vote.
“Under Nigel’s leadership UKIP won a national vote at the 2014 EU Parliament elections before forcing the Tories into adopting an EU referendum as a manifesto pledge, enabling it to win a majority for the first time in decades.
“The referendum result destroyed Cameron’s political career and now seems to be leading to the destruction of the Labour Party as an electoral force, in a slow painful car crash.
“Arguably, UKIP under Nigel was the most successful political party ever. He can say he destroyed Cameron, Osborne, Corbyn, Clegg and the Labour Party.
He re-drew the political map of the country in his image. No other politician in the last 50 years could claim that.
“He was so successful that Mrs May has positioned herself as a champion of Brexit, the downtrodden JAMs, grammar schools, and controlled immigration. It turns out these policies were wildly popular after all. Take another bow Nigel!”