United Kingdom Independence Party
Learn more about United Kingdom Independence Party
|United Kingdom Independence Party|
|Leader||Nigel Farage MEP|
|Headquarters|| PO Box 408 |
|Political Ideology||Euroscepticism, Libertarianism, conservatism|
|Political Position||Centre right|
|European Parliament Group||Ind & Dem|
|Colours||Purple and yellow|
|See also||Politics of the UK|
The principal aim of the Party is the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union. The intention being that the United Kingdom 'shall again be governed by laws made to suit its own needs by its own Parliament, which must be directly and solely accountable to the electorate of the UK'.  Other aspects of policy include promises to reduce taxation, the preservation of pound sterling, being tough on crime and tighter controls on immigration.
The current party leader is Nigel Farage, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England. He is the leader of the party in the European Parliament. His stated intention is to broaden public perception of UKIP beyond merely being a party seeking to get the UK out of the EU, to one of being a Free Market party broadly standing for traditional conservative values.
UKIP has about thirty local councillors on principal authorities, town and parish councils. In the 2004 European elections UKIP received 2.7 million votes (16.8% of the national vote), gaining twelve seats in the European Parliament, in the 2005 General Election however the party received only 618,000 votes (2.38% of the vote) well down on the EU elections but an improvement on the 2001 General Election..
UKIP was founded in 1993, by Alan Sked and other members of the all-party Anti-Federalist League. The central aim of the party was to seek the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. The new party attracted many from the anti-European wing of the Conservative Party, which was split on the European question after the pound was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992 and the struggle over ratification of the Maastricht Treaty. UKIP candidates stood in the 1997 general election, but were overshadowed by James Goldsmith's Referendum Party. After the election, Alan Sked resigned the leadership and left the party which was, he said, 'doomed to remain on the political fringes'. However, Goldsmith's death soon after the election precipitated the dissolution of the Referendum Party, with a resulting influx of new UKIP supporters. The leadership election was won by millionaire businessman Michael Holmes, and in the 1999 elections to the European Parliament UKIP amazed commentators by picking up three seats and 7% of the vote. In that election, Nigel Farage (South East England), Jeffrey Titford (East of England), and Michael Holmes (South West England) were elected.
However, over the next few months there was a power struggle between the leader, Michael Holmes, and the party's National Executive Committee. This was partly due to Holmes making a speech which was perceived to call for greater powers for the European Parliament against the European Commission. In a stormy meeting, ordinary party members forced the resignation of both Holmes and the entire NEC. Holmes resigned from the party itself in March 2000. There was a legal battle when he tried to continue as an independent MEP until resigning from the European Parliament in December 2002, when he was replaced by Graham Booth, the second candidate on the UKIP list in South West England.
Jeffrey Titford was narrowly elected to the vacant leadership, and succeeded in healing many of the wounds left by the previous infighting. UKIP put up candidates in more than 420 seats in the 2001 general election, coming fifth in terms of votes cast (with 1.5%) but failing to win any representation at Westminster. It also failed to break through in the elections to the Scottish Parliament or the National Assembly of Wales despite those elections being held under Proportional Representation. This may be partly because the "National Question" is less focussed on European participation and more focussed on the continued link with the United Kingdom, but also perhaps because Eurosceptism is simply less popular outside of England. In 2002 Titford stood down as party leader, but continued to sit as a UKIP MEP. He was replaced as leader by Roger Knapman.
In late 2004, reports in the mainstream UK press speculated on if and when former Labour Party MP and chat show host Robert Kilroy-Silk would take control of the party. These reports were heightened by Kilroy-Silk's speech at the UKIP party conference on 2 October 2004, in which he called for the Conservative Party to be "killed-off" (following UKIP forcing the Conservatives into fourth place in Hartlepool).
According to accounts filed for the year of 2004 with the Electoral Commission, the party had 26,000 members at year end, compared to 16,000 at the end of 2003. Taking into account notional expenditure on its behalf, it had a budget of £1,700,000. 
Interviewed by Channel 4, Kilroy-Silk did not deny having ambitions to lead the party, but underlined that Roger Knapman would lead it into the next general election. However, the next day, on Breakfast with Frost, he criticised Knapman's leadership. After further disagreement with the leadership, on 27 October 2004 Kilroy-Silk resigned the UKIP whip in the European Parliament. Initially, he still remained a member, while seeking a bid for the party leadership. However, this was not successful, and Kilroy-Silk resigned completely from UKIP on 20 January 2005, calling it a "joke". Two weeks later, he founded his own party, Veritas, taking several UKIP members, including both London Assembly members, with him. Kilroy-Silk has subsequently resigned from Veritas.
In October 2005, Petrina Holdsworth resigned as Chairman of UKIP and from the party's National Executive Committee. She was replaced as Chairman "on an interim basis" by the party's former leader, Jeffrey Titford MEP. In December 2005, David Campbell-Bannerman, a former Conservative, became the new party chairman, appointed by the party leader, Roger Knapman MEP. Knapmans 4 year term as leader ended in June 2006, triggering a leadership contest that saw four challengers (Richard Suchorzewski, David Campbell-Bannerman, David Noakes and Nigel Farage) who emerged as victor on 12 September 2006.
Although the UKIP's original raison d'être was, without a doubt, the EU, it rejects the notion that it is a single-issue party. Its economic stance is largely similar to that of the opposition Conservative Party and that implemented by the ruling Labour Party since 1997, though it claims that it could offer both increased public spending and reduced taxation through ceasing to pay levies of £12.5bn per annum to the EU.
UKIP contends (a) that the EU is extremely corrupt, (b) that it is undemocratic (they particularly resent the fact that European Commissioners, who are appointed by national governments rather than directly elected, have sole authority to initiate legislation in most policy areas), (c) that Britain's membership is very expensive and (d) that Britain's sovereignty is diluted by being part of a large bloc. While (a), (b) and (c) could in principle be addressed by radical reform of the European Union, it perceives (d) as being so fundamental a problem that only complete withdrawal from the Union can address it. For this reason, the aim of British withdrawal from the EU is written into UKIP's constitution. In line with this, one of UKIP's political goals is to break what it sees as the pro-EU consensus among the three established parties, and prevent the introduction of the euro and the adoption of a European constitution. UKIP is also opposed to compulsory metrication in the United Kingdom.
Opponents have claimed that UKIP is a Thatcherite party exploiting widespread Euroscepticism in Britain in an attempt to bring back characteristic Thatcherite policies such as dismantlement of the welfare state, elimination of legal restrictions on business, and an unquestioning alliance with the US. Some have even stated that the party's name is misleading, claiming that it supports the UK's alliance with the USA to such an extent that it, by definition, does not support the independence of the UK. However, policies outlined in the party's 2001 manifesto  often suggest otherwise: UKIP supports free international trade and it maintains a strong commitment to the National Health Service . UKIP does in general support continuing military cooperation with the USA through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)  but said in 2002 that it could only support a US invasion of Iraq if there was a clear United Nations mandate for such action. On 21 February 2006, UKIP announced a relaunch , declaring that they would be moving to fill the space left by the Conservative Party following the election as leader of David Cameron, who is widely perceived to have moved the party to the centre-ground. They announced that they would now be focussing on five policy areas, rather than concentrating solely on withdrawal from the EU. These are to be education, international trade, immigration, tax, and the way Britain is governed. To this end, Party Chairman David Campbell-Bannerman announced that there would be a sweeping policy review on libertarian lines.
The UKIP is against the planned introduction of identity cards, believing them to be ineffective as a way of combatting fraud and terrorism, and an infringement of individual liberty . In December 2004 UKIP affiliated to the anti-ID card campaign, No2ID . Concern for civil liberties also led UKIP to oppose the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 , which gives additional powers to the UK Home Secretary in broadly defined "emergency situations". UKIP's Jeffrey Titford MEP condemned the bill as "totalitarian". 
UKIP has also investigated the possibility of adopting a flat tax policy, at the 2005 Conference. At the same conference the delegates voted against adopting a policy to introduce Proportional representation.
UKIP opposes the adoption of a Devolved English parliament, preferring to argue that the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies can simply be abolished to return the United Kingdom to one Country with one Parliament. The party's Welsh section, UKIP Wales, persuaded the UK leadership to back a policy of outright abolition of the Welsh Assembly, and UKIP Wales campaigned on that basis in the Welsh Assembly elections in 2003.
 Electoral performance 2004-2006
UKIP's first electoral success was the election of three MEPs in 1999 and it made further advances in 2004, but although increasing its share of the vote in both the 2001 General Election and 2005 General Election it did not achieve the same levels of vote as in those Elections to the European Parliament. In part this may be explained by the first past the post electoral system wherein small political parties tend to fare badly. But it is also of note that the European Elections occurred in mid-term - a period which usually sees a large Protest vote against the government and which has in the past resulted in short term boosts for small parties.
UKIP's expectations were high before the 2004 European Parliament election, with a number of opinion polls – starting with one from YouGov - showed them on course to beat the Liberal Democrats and pick up a dozen MEPs. The prediction proved accurate, with UKIP winning 16.8% of the vote and taking third place nationally with 12 seats. There was a controversy over internet polls overestimating the UKIP vote, although many traditional face to face polls had underestimated the UKIP vote in the opposite direction. UKIP won seats in eight regions, taking votes from all three major political Parties. It came second, ahead of both Labour and the Liberal Democrats, in four regions: South West, South East, Eastern and East Midlands. In the East Midlands region UKIP came within a percentage point of being top of the poll.
The party's profile was raised substantially in April and May 2004 by the surprise candidacy of former Labour Party MP and chat show host Robert Kilroy-Silk. Kilroy-Silk had been sacked by the BBC in 2003 for writing a controversial article in a national newspaper. The article criticised decadence in the Arab world and its rulers,  and was claimed by third party commentators to be racist and ignorant. 
A number of other celebrities also pledged support to UKIP in this election, adding momentum to its campaign. These included the actress Joan Collins, actor Edward Fox, cricketer Geoff Boycott, and former racing champion Sir Stirling Moss. The party also enjoys the support of the Duke of Rutland, Earl of Bradford and Sir Patrick Moore.
UKIP received assistance in coordinating its 2004 election campaign from Dick Morris, formerly Bill Clinton's campaign advisor who has since emerged as an advocate of US unilateralism and an opponent of the EU. 
In the local elections on 10 June 2004, UKIP won its first ever City council seats in Kingston-upon-Hull and Derby. In London, an area where UKIP had previously polled badly, two UKIP candidates won seats in the London Assembly via the London-wide list. In the election for Mayor of London which was held on the same day, UKIP's candidate, the boxing promoter Frank Maloney, came fourth with 6.2% of the total vote.
UKIP had hoped to sustain its momentum in the 2005 General Election, but despite fielding 495 candidates, the party failed to win any seats at Westminster. At the General Election, UKIP gained 618,000 votes, or 2.3% of the total votes cast in the election (an increase of 220,000 votes / 0.8% from their result in the 2001 general election). Although respectable for a small party, and sufficient to place them fourth in terms of total votes cast behind the Liberal Democrats, the Liberal Democrats polled in excess of 20% of the total vote cast. 45 UKIP candidates saved their deposits, up from only six in 2001. And the party however faced competition from Robert Kilroy Silk's new Veritas Party that he formed when he brokeaway.
Their best result on election night itself was in Boston & Skegness, where their candidate Richard Horsnell came 3rd with 9.6% of the vote. . However, in South Staffordshire, where the poll was delayed until June 23 2005 by the death of the Liberal Democrat candidate, UKIP's Malcolm Hurst gained 10.4% of the vote.  In percentage terms this was UKIP's highest score of the general election.
In the first Parliamentary election test of 2006, UKIP came eighth out of nine candidates in the Dunfermline and West Fife by-election on 9 February 2006, and their candidate lost his deposit, polling only 208 votes (0.6%).
In the 2006 English local elections, UKIP won its first borough council seat in Hartlepool but a councillor in Wirral who had recently defected to UKIP from the Conservatives failed to be re-elected for her new party, so that UKIP's overall net gain was zero. UKIP also beat Labour into fourth place in the Bromley and Chislehurst by-election in June 2006. The UKIP candidate, Nigel Farage, came third with 8.1% of the vote, ahead of Labour on 6.6%. This was the first time for many years that a party in government had dropped to fourth place in a by-election.
 UKIP by-election performance
|Bromley and Chislehurst||2347||8.1||3|
|Dunfermline and West Fife||208||0.6||8|
|West Bromwich West||246||1.3||5|
|Kensington and Chelsea||450||2.3||5|
|South East Staffordshire||1272||2.9||4|
|Littleborough and Saddleworth||549||1.3||5|
|Perth and Kinross||504||1.2||5|
 UKIP, the Conservatives, and the far right
UKIP's constitution contains a clause guaranteeing that the party will not discriminate on the grounds of race and will be non-sectarian, and party rules require all candidates to declare that they have no past or present links with far-right organisations.
Despite its stated policies, some critics of the UKIP claim links between it and far-right groups. Aidan Rankin, co-author of the party's 2001 manifesto, was once involved with the Third Way, which was founded by former members of the National Front (though he has since repudiated these views and has denied ever being a racist; it must also be stated that Third Way has never been as extreme as the NF). Alistair McConnachie, a five-times UKIP candidate and National Executive member, was suspended from the National Executive of UKIP for his views on the Holocaust . Some other candidates were formerly members of the New Britain Party.
It has been a stated policy of the far-right British National Party (BNP) to "eliminate" UKIP as they perceive that too many potential BNP voters are attracted by UKIP addressing the issue of EU membership. The BNP has infiltrated UKIP in the past, notably in the cases of Mark Deavin, a UKIP head office researcher (hired by the party founder Alan Sked) who was exposed as a BNP agent in 1997  and John Brayshaw in 2004 . The aim appears simply to have been to damage UKIP .
In April 2006, Conservative Party leader David Cameron called UKIP members "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" while talking on LBC radio in London after a question about UKIP using the Freedom of Information Act to force the disclosure of donors.<ref name="fruitcakecameron">[http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=29&art_id=qw1144326603564B231 Cameron labels party 'fruit cakes']</ref> UKIP has demanded an apology for the "closet racists" remark and threatened legal action for slander<ref name="closetremark">UKIP seeks legal advice on jibes</ref> although this was later dropped, on the grounds that to sue the party would have to prove loss, and the comment had actually had a positive effect for UKIP. <ref name="fruitcakes"> "But the party dropped its threat to take legal action against the Conservatives after Mr Cameron’s claim that they were 'closet racists'." UKIP 'fruitcakes' step up war against Tories, The Times, 8 April 2006, Retrieved 8 April 2006</ref> Conservative MP Bob Spink has criticised the remarks<ref name="spink">Tory MP defends Ukip in racist row, Daily Telegraph, 6/4/96</ref> as has the Conservative supporting newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.<ref name="Telegraph">UKIP deserves better, Daily Telegraph, 5/4/2006</ref> Also some of the staff at Conservative Central Office are former UKIP candidates (e.g., George Eustice) and many prominent members of UKIP are former members of the Conservative Party (e.g., former UKIP leader Roger Knapman).
 Current representatives
In 2005, Robert Kilroy-Silk and both London Assembly members defected to form a new political party, Veritas. However, all three defectors have since left Veritas. Another MEP, Ashley Mote, who was elected as an MEP for South East England, had the UKIP whip removed on 15 July 2004, because he had not informed them previously of an imminent court case involving housing benefit fraud.
The remaining MEPs are:
 Leaders of the UK Independence Party since 1993
- Dr Alan Sked 1993-1997
- Craig Mackinlay 1997 (acting leader)
- Michael Holmes 1997-2000 (MEP from 1999 on)
- Jeffrey Titford, MEP 2000-2002
- Roger Knapman, MEP 2002-2006
- Nigel Farage, MEP 2006-present
 Eurosceptics in the European Parliament
In 2004, 37 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden founded a new European Parliament group called Independence and Democracy from the old Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD) group. The main goals of this group are to reject the Treaty establishing a constitution for Europe and to oppose further European integration. Some delegations within the group, including UKIP, advocate the complete withdrawal of their country from the EU.
 See also
 External links and references
- Official UKIP homepage
- UKIP's MEPs explain their aims
- Press Release concerning Ashley Mote
- Full history of UKIP : "Hard Pounding, The Story of the UK Independence Party"
- Don't be fooled: The UK Independence Party is not harmless (Johann Hari, The Independent, 26 May 2004)
- Escape from UKIP (Aidan Rankin, New Statesman 14 June 2004)
- The Outsiders (Guardian special report on UKIP MEPs from 2001, when there were only two of them)
- MayorWatch interview with Damian Hockney, leader of the UKIP group on the London Assembly.
- There's something about UKIP (pamphlet by *Labour MEP Richard Corbett, by Britain in Europe, Autumn 2004)
|Political parties in the United Kingdom|
|Represented in the House of Commons (646) :||
Labour (354) | Conservatives (198) | Liberal Democrats (63) | DUP (9) | SNP (6) | Sinn Féin (0#) | Plaid Cymru (3) | SDLP (3) | Ind KHHC (1) | Independent (1) | Independent Labour (1) | Respect (1) | UUP (1)
|Represented in the House of Lords (741) :||
Labour (213) | Conservatives (210) | Cross-bencher (196) | Liberal Democrats (79) | Greens (E&W) (1) | Bishops (26) | Non affiliated (13) | Conservative Independent (1) | Independent Labour (1) | Independent (1)
|Represented in the Scottish Parliament (129):|
|Represented in the National Assembly for Wales (60):|
|Represented in the Northern Ireland Assembly (108) [Suspended]|
|Represented in the London Assembly (25):|
|Represented in the European Parliament (72 out of 732):||
Conservatives (ED, 26) | Labour (PES, 19) | Liberal Democrats (ELDR, 12) | UKIP (ID, 10) | Greens (E&W) (EGP, 2) | SNP (EFA, 2) | DUP (ED, 1) | Plaid Cymru (EFA, 1) | Sinn Féin (EUL, 2†) | UUP (ED, 1) | Independent (NA, 2)
|Notes||#Sinn Féin have six elected members, but as abstentionist have no representation |
† Sinn Féin's second seat is held in the Republic of Ireland
de:United Kingdom Independence Party es:Partido por la Independencia del Reino Unido fr:Parti pour l'indépendance du Royaume-Uni kw:UKIP pl:Partia Niepodległości Zjednoczonego Królestwa simple:United Kingdom Independence Party sv:United Kingdom Independence Party zh:英國獨立黨