'Our patience has run out': UKIP East Suffolk split from national party
PUBLISHED: 16:48 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 16:48 18 September 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
A local branch of UKIP has stopped funding, support and campaigning for the national party amid disagreements with the "hierarchy."
UKIP East Suffolk have taken the temporary step in support of party leader Richard Braine following criticism from UKIP chair Kirstan Herriot.
Branch leaders confirmed the move in an open letter to Ms Herriot and members of the party's National Executive Committee (NEC).
Mr Braine entered a public row with the party's NEC after he called for the cancellation of the conference, while Ms Herriot wrote to members criticising the party leader over his "regrettable decision not to attend our own conference due to low ticket sales".
The spat also comes after former leader Gerard Batten, who visited Lowestoft in May, was reportedly blocked from standing as leader again by the NEC, while three members were suspended.
The open letter stated: "You seem to be totally isolated from the membership with no thought for the branches to consider how the decisions taken by people in their ivory towers impact upon them.
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"How on earth can you expect to run a country when you cannot run a political party whose rules and regulations are not geared up to run it
"We have sat by and watched UKIP self-destruct. Our patience has run out. We have a newly elected leader whose ability to lead has been undermined. He has been thwarted by yourselves.
"We in UKIP East Suffolk have no choice but to withdraw all financial funding, support and campaigning until you all resign and/or the recent suspensions are lifted and the 'not of good standing' judgement on Gerard Batten be reversed. We call upon yourself and the NEC to do the decent thing and resign before conference and hand over the running of UKIP to the elected leader and whoever he wishes to nominate to support him.
"It pains us to write this. We cannot carry on like this."
UKIP East Suffolk vice-chairman Mike Shaw said: "It is a temporary measure because we don't agree with the actions they have taken and it is difficult for us to understand them.
"Locally, we have no secrets. We believe we are acting honestly and in the best interests of a party that we perceive there is a need for. Until such a time as concrete efforts are made to resolve the point of dispute, we are withholding our support."
Ms Herriot and the NEC have been contacted for comment.