Nigel Farage QUITS Ukip in protest over Tommy Robinson

Nigel Farage QUITS Ukip in protest over new leader Gerard Batten’s appointment of Tommy Robinson as adviser on ‘Muslim rape gangs’

  • Former Ukip leader has long opposed appointment of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon
  • Gerard Batten brought him in as an adviser on rape gangs and prison reform
  • Warned involvement of the far-right thug would turn Ukip into the ‘new BNP’  

Nigel Farage has quit Ukip in protest over new leader Gerard Batten’s appointment of Tommy Robinson as an adviser on ‘Muslim rape gangs’. 

‘And so, with a heavy heart, and after all my years of devotion to the party, I am leaving Ukip today,’ he wrote in The Telegraph. ‘There is a huge space for a Brexit party in British politics, but it won’t be filled by Ukip.’

Speaking later on LBC, Mr Farage accused Mr Batten of ‘turning a blind eye to extremism’ and attempting to turn the party from an ‘electoral’ force into a ‘party of street activism’.  

Nigel Farage (seen speaking at the European Parliament on November 29, 2018) has long opposed the appointment of Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon

Mr Farage announced last month he would write to the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to demand a vote of no confidence in Mr Batten, but this was voted down on Sunday. 

Mr Farage insisted Ukip had been successful in the past because it had a policy of ‘excluding extremists’.

The ex-leader the appointment of Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, risked turning Ukip into a ‘party of street activism’. 

Mr Farage said: ‘Under my leadership of Ukip, the party banned former members of the BNP and EDL from joining. Many accusations of racism and extremism were thrown at us, but I strongly maintain they were untrue.

‘Under Gerard Batten’s leadership, however, the party’s direction has changed fundamentally.’

He said the fact that Ukip was fielding ‘very few candidates’ in local council by-elections showed it was becoming increasingly irrelevant in the electoral sphere. 

‘Worse still, many of our very best organisers and activists on the ground have resigned their positions. This means we no longer have a professional campaigning team.

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‘The party of elections is quickly becoming a party of street activism, with our members being urged to attend marches rather than taking the fight to the ballot box.’

Mr Farage also discussed his resignation tonight on LBC, saying he believed Mr Batten had become ‘obsessed with Islam, not just Islamic extremism’.

‘Mr Gerard Batten seems to be pretty obsessed with the issue of Islam, not just Islamic extremism, but specifically, Islam,’ he said. ‘Ukip was not founded to be a party based on fighting a religious crusade. 

‘He is also obsessed with this figure called Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.

‘He is seen by some to be a great hero standing up and fighting for working class people but who has a pretty suspect record and who brings with him a group of people, I’m afraid, amongst with we see scuffles and violence. Many have criminal records – some pretty serious.

‘And all of its been dragging Ukip away from being an electoral party into being a party of street activism… this direction is catastrophic, particularly at a time when the great Brexit betrayal is upon us.’ 

Mr Batten tweeted tonight: ‘I hear that Nigel Farage has resigned from UKIP. Nigel & I were founder members of UKIP in 1993. 

‘I have always given him full credit for his work in UKIP bringing about and winning the Referendum. However, I feel that he left UKIP in spirit after the Referendum.’ 

Gerard Batten appointed Mr Yaxley-Lennon as an adviser on rape gangs and prison reform. They are pictured in an undated photo  

Responding to Mr Farage’s resignation in a tweet, Mr Batten suggested he had ‘left Ukip in spirit’ following the Brexit referendum

Yesterday, Ukip also lost its former deputy chairwoman, Suzanne Evans, who said she had become ‘increasingly alarmed’ by the ‘perverse direction’ Mr Batten was taking the Eurosceptic party. 

Announcing her decision, Ms Evans said that ‘the NEC and Ukip MEPs might be willing to turn a blind eye to the obvious attempts by Gerard and Tommy Robinson to orchestrate a ‘Momentum-style’ takeover of Ukip, but I am not’.

She said: ‘I was hoping, yesterday, that sense would prevail; that Ukip’s National Executive Committee would call for a no confidence vote in Batten, so the party could be prevented from taking a devastatingly wrong turn.

‘But if even those elected to represent ordinary members won’t protect Ukip from a leader who appears hell bent on destroying it from within, then there is no hope left.’

In a statement on Sunday, Ukip said that it ‘does not endorse the appointment of Tommy Robinson in any advisory role’, adding: ‘He is not a Ukip member and through his associations he is barred from joining Ukip.’

Mr Batten previously defended his decision to give Mr Yaxley-Lennon a role advising him on rape gangs and prison reform, describing the EDL co-founder as ‘courageous’.

Ukip recently shared this image of Mr Batten next to the former EDL leader at a meeting

Mr Farage has said the appointment of Robinson to Ukip signals the party has become a ‘party of street activism’. Mr Yaxley-Lennon is pictured at an EDL rally in London on May 22, 2013

He denied moving Ukip to the extremes or opening its doors to racists, and told the BBC Mr Robinson would help him turn the party into a ‘mass movement… a party for ordinary people’.

He attacked Mr Farage on Monday, tweeting: ‘Nigel Farage failed to get the UKIP MEPs to even have a vote of no confidence in me last Wed in Brussels.

‘He failed to get a vote through at yesterday’s NEC. Now he’s reduced to doing the rounds in the MSM attacking me. My crime? UKIP isn’t disappearing under my leadership.’

But MEPs including Patrick O’Flynn, Bill Etheridge and William Dartmouth have all quit the party in recent months over the direction of travel within the party.

Mr Robinson is expected to feature prominently in a Brexit march in London two days before the Commons votes on the UK’s EU withdrawal deal at which Mr Batten is due to speak.

Ukip said the December 9 march had not been organised by the party, but added: ‘Members are free to attend should they wish.’

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