I would like to try and pour some calming oil on what looks like very troubled water.
I have watched, in dismay, the horrific notices in the press and elsewhere with regard to the problems of Steven Woolfe’s application for the position of Leader.
I have known Steven for a long time and would like to say this to him and to all members who wish to stand for office whether it be as a parish, town, district or county councillor, prospective parliamentary candidate, MEP etc: the rules are very simple, and they are these – we are taught them from the moment we have declared an interest in standing – :
Get your nomination papers in at least 48 hours before the deadline, so that if there is a problem either with your paperwork or indeed a problem with those receiving your paperwork, you will have two days to sort it out.
Now, my brain would tell me that the closing date for the leadership nominations was at 12 noon on Sunday 31st July. Common sense should kick in and say “Sunday“- it’s not likely that there will be many people working in the office – must get this done earlier, i.e. the Wednesday or Thursday of the preceding week.
Try turning up at the airport when the plane is waiting to taxi out for take off and see how far you get! A deadline is a deadline and if you genuinely wished to lead the UK Independence Party, I would suggest that every duck should be in the row at the very earliest opportunity, and not with minutes to go before the deadline.
I see there are all sorts of theories as to who has tried to bring Steven down. It’s a pity that I or a number of other people were not working for him. We would have made certain that his papers were all in place well before the deadline.
Steven, I don’t know whether it was you or your staff which was responsible for this debacle, but it should be a salutary lesson for the future – for you and indeed any prospective candidate.
The NEC have been pilloried mercilessly over this. What a situation to put them in to start with. All these people represent our interests and do an extremely difficult job. Remember they are Directors of the Party with all the duties and responsibilities and indeed liabilities that encompasses, and on many an occasion they have had to work with both hands tied behind their backs.
Those days are thankfully over and it is up to the people we all elected to do the job we want them to do on our behalf. Part of that job, I believe, is to deal properly with each and every member in every situation, fairly and by the rules. This appears to have been done here and every avenue examined before refusing to allow Steven to stand.
Steven, I am so sorry that for whatever reason this has happened but you seriously should not have put yourself in this position to start with.
[Ed: Further to this letter, please check out paragraphs 2.2.2 and 2.2.3 of the Constitution which define the role of the elected members of the NEC. See in addition, and specifically, all of Part VI of the Constitution. Also refer to the ‘Internal Party election rules’ in the Party’s “Rule Book”, i.e.‘Rules of Procedure’ . The relevant sections are sections N and O.]