Here are the minutes for the Eastern Region meeting held in Ugley, Essex on Saturday 17th January.
It has to be one of the most damning documents ever written. Thanks to the leadership's corruption and dishonesty UKIP East is on the point of total collapse.
Here are some of the highlights:
Paul Nuttall admits that UKIP’s Political Committee does not keep minutes, does not have an agenda and is totally under the control of Nigel Farage.
Paul Nuttall criticises the way NEC elections are conducted.
Peter Reeve has been reported to the Police for assault. He has also been reported to the Inland Revenue.
How the Eastern Region MEP selection process was rigged.
Calls for the Regional Organiser and Regional Chairman to be brought before a disciplinary committee.
The Eastern Regional Committee is unlawful.
Robin Page explains how he was lied to by Peter Reeve and David Challice
John West was sent a threatening letter by George Curtis prior to the MEP selection process.
MINUTES TO THE MEETING HELD ON THE 17th January 2009 WITH UKIP PARTY CHAIRMAN, MR PAUL NUTTALL.
At The Beautiful Ugley Chequers Hotel, Ugley, Essex
This is a confidential meeting and attendance was by invitation only.
Paul Nuttall Liverpool/UKIP Chairman
Jonathon Arnott Sheffield/UKIP Secretary
Martin Harvey Broxbourne & Harlow
Peter Cole South West Bedfordshire/Fenland
Ray Lomas Saffron Walden
John Patrick Saffron Walden
Dave Hudson West Suffolk
Ian Smith Bury St Edmunds
Eddie Worster Broxbourne
Robin Page Hunts & Cambs
Sheila Pettman Hertford & Stortford
Bob Colman Mid Bedfordshire
John Saunders South West Bedfordshire/St Albans
Neil Taylor South Essex
John Croft South Essex/Regional Committee
Ron Hurrell South Essex
George Curtis Essex North/Regional Committee
Jack Tyler Waveney
Bertie Poole Waveney
Bill Mountford Waveney
Jenny Parkinson Barking & Havering
Harry Parkinson Barking & Havering
Darren Bull Barking & Havering
Peter Reeve Cambridgeshire North West
Marion Mason Stevenage
Len Baynes Fenland
Jan Baynes Fenland
Anthony Clift-Stokes Broxbourne
Doug Dilley Stevenage
Christopher Hudson Broken ankle & wrist
Helene Davies Out of area
Janet Davies Back problem
Minutes taken by Jan Baynes
It was noted that George Curtis had been delayed and would be arriving late and that Robin Page would need to leave during the lunch break due to other commitments.
Martin Harvey (Chairman) opened the meeting and thanked everyone for taking the time to attend.
OVERVIEW BY MARTIN HARVEY
MH stated the need for basic honesty. The meetings in Newmarket were set up to try to establish what is really needed to relay our message to the public by coming together to share ideas and generally discuss the way forward. It has never been the intention of the activists to cause damage to the Party. At a meeting in September 2008 an agenda had been prepared to discuss all aspects of campaigning. A short way into the meeting it became obvious that members were unhappy with the current situation and the agenda was abandoned for issues of concern to be discussed. The result of this was the Newmarket Declaration which was sent to the Leadership. Peter Reeve (Regional Organiser) has accused Martin Harvey of placing the Declaration on the internet. This is untrue . It is obvious there are a number of problems within the Party and it is not running as smoothly as it did at the time of the 2004 European elections.
Eastern Regional Committee
In 2005, after the successful general election, it was agreed by the Regional Committee that a new committee be elected as required by the Party rules in force at that time. The Committee agreed that Martin Harvey, as vice-chairman then, with the expertise and help from Brian Lee, should create a method for electing the new committee, as stipulated by the rules that had been put in place by the NEC in October 2005. The old committee agreed these new rules in January 2006 and The NEC approved the new set of rules in February 2006. This is recorded in the appropriate set of minutes. The election of the new committee was to take place after the May 2006 Local Elections. Despite this, at the Regional Committee meeting in March 2006, Tom Wise, Charlie Cole and George Curtis decided to simply appoint the new committee without having an election. This was unlawful because the rules in force at the time were not followed. Representations by Brian Lee and Martin Harvey were made to David Bannerman during the summer of 2006. David Bannerman and Martin Harvey exchanged e-mails on the subject, but nothing positive was done to rectify the situation. When John Whittaker became Party Chairman, he took the file over.
Martin Harvey maintained contact with John Whittaker over the matter but by January 2008 many activists were becoming concerned about issues in the Eastern Counties in general, so on the 2nd February 2008 Martin Harvey, on behalf of the activists, wrote a letter to John Whittaker explaining the situation and suggested a way to rectify things. Coincidentally, the NEC changed the rules at this point in time and John Whittaker replied to Martin Harvey in February 2008 explaining that new rules were in place and they would be implemented. The new rules stated that where a branch had not been elected according to the rules, quote, ‘the committee shall be elected by those procedures as soon as possible thereafter.’ ‘those procedures’ refers to para’ 3.1 and 3.2, which deal with election of a committee. Unfortunately, the new rules were disregarded by the Regional Committee and nothing was done to rectify the situation.
Martin Harvey said that George Curtis has given a completely false account of what really happened. GC has stated that the exact number of persons came forward to form a committee so there was no need for an election. GC had followed this up by stating, quote ‘the present committee, which then contained both Martin Harvey and Brian Lee is the end result. These last two immediately attempted to retrospectively foist a new set of rules onto the committee’. The end result was the departure of Martin Harvey and Brian Lee. Martin Harvey said this is a totally dishonest fabrication.
The true account is:-
· January 2006
Rules approved by the old 2004 committee
· 13 Feb 2006
Party Secretary confirmed NEC approval of new rules. This was conveyed by e-mail.
· 21 May 2006
Martin Harvey wrote to George Curtis pointing out contravention to Party Rules. New and old potential committee members also notified by e-mail
· 22 May 2006
Martin Harvey informed the Party Secretary (Mr Denny) about the contravention to the Party Rules and stated that he would not be part of this unlawful committee and withdrew his name.
· 24 May 2006
The new committee had its first meeting.
MEP Selection Procedure
The selection procedure for deciding the MEP list for the forthcoming EU election this June (2009) was considered by many to have been unsatisfactory, as is confirmed by Piers Merchant (Returning Officer). In particular, the panel of Jeffrey Titford, Peter Reeve and George Curtis was seen by many to be biased.
George Curtis sent out a letter criticising one candidate and Jeffrey Titford had sent out an e-mail damaging other candidates. Robin Page considers himself to have been tricked into a situation where the Regional Organiser, who had promised to deal with the forms, failed to meet the deadline. A particularly good candidate (Chris Hudson), who is most likely by far the best Political Brain in the East, was rejected.
A disturbing fact is that statements in letters and e-mails and on public websites have been made about hard-working activists which are untrue and deceitful. Attempts have also been made to smear individuals by publishing untruths on Public websites. One particular website is set up anonymously in America so that the perpetrator cannot be traced to face charges of libel etc, due to differences in American and British Law. Many consider that this site operator is acting in collusion with the UKIP Leadership. There are at least two UKIP members/ supporters who post childish and untrue statements on the British Democracy Forum website, one of whom is a MEP Candidate on our list, which does bring UKIP into disrepute, as it is a website that enjoys Public Access.
George Curtis has put out untrue stories about the formation of the current Eastern Committee. George Curtis placed an article in Jeffrey Titford’s Newsletter stating that the Eastern Committee follows the rule with regard to regularly informing and otherwise updating the constituency associations and branches of its activities and undertakings. It appears that this rule is not being adhered to as when a request had been made for a copy of the minutes for three particular meetings which took place over the last two and a half years, George Curtis refused the request. It appears that the Eastern Committee has not only been unlawfully appointed but is a committee which does not abide by the rules.
MH said it is our request that Party rules must be followed, the lying and deceit be halted and the bullying be stopped.
2. JOHN CROFT
JC explained that he was Chairman of the South East Essex Branch and also a member of the Eastern Regional Committee. He was prepared to answer any questions put to him.
He explained his extensive Political background and his belief in honour and honesty. JC circulated an extract of the rules of the committee:-
EASTERN COUNTIES COMMITTEE
If the Regional Committee is not constituted in accordance with the party’s rules, then it follows that it cannot legally bind others, enter into contracts, or otherwise act on behalf of the ‘party’,
It follows that in the context of the receiving or paying away of monies, the Committee cannot legally create or amend Bank mandates (e.g. change signatories or anyway alter the Banks instructions). It might also be argued that in collecting or otherwise enticing of monies to be paid into such an account could constitute fraudulent conversion.
If, however, the bank account is merely a subset of the national party’s banking arrangements, covered by a mandate authorized by the Party’s national rules, with signatories authorised by appropriately named (on the Bank mandate) national party executives, then the role of the regional committee in respect of funds is probably not relevant.
His view was ‘carry them out or tear them up’. There is nothing wrong with our rules and it is obvious they should have been implemented in February or March 2008. Problems have occurred because they have not been implemented. A dispensation had been given by John Whittaker to George Curtis. This cannot be done without the agreement of the membership. JC quoted Edmund Burke “Stand up, tell the truth or say nothing”.
Branches are so remote from the Regional Committee. JC is in a position to report information, on a monthly basis to the Regional Committee on behalf of the South Essex Branch. He is aware that other Branch Chairmen do not know what is going on as there is a communication problem.
There needs to be discretion but Branch Chairmen should be sent copies of the Regional Committee minutes.
Two months ago A Smith (Regional Committee)) called on members to say he wanted a confidentiality document to be signed. JC did not sign this as he saw it as a gagging order. The Regional Committee are taking on more than they should and autonomy is being whittled away.
It is obvious that the Regional Committee is unlawful at the present time.
The Returning Officer has reported his grave concerns about what had occurred regarding the MEP selection process. These concerns need to be answered.
We are all fighting the same cause, we are a pressure Party but these problems in the East must be sorted out. “Tell the truth and fear nothing”. JC said he can back up everything he has said in writing.
John Croft concluded by saying “Today, Mr Chairman the only way forward is to alleviate this problem by dissolving the Eastern Regional Committee and electing a new committee.
3. PETER COLE
Mr Chairman, thank you.
Mr Party Chairman, I put to you today the desire to have Mr Peter Reeve, as Eastern Counties Regional Organiser, brought before a UKIP Disciplinary Committee hearing on the following grounds:-
1. That by repeating untruths at Eastern Counties Committee meetings thereby bringing the Party into disrepute.
By stating that I had attended a meeting with Greg Lance-Watkins in Bath on December 6th, who incidentally I would not recognise even if he were to be in this room. (Meeting held in December). Evidence of where I was, attached.
2. That by distributing letters to members of the Fenland Branch thereby bringing the Party into disrepute.
Letters with highlighted comments attached.
3. By behaving at a Fenland Branch meeting in my opinion in an arrogant manner thereby bringing his professional behaviour into disrepute.
a) See minutes to the meeting.
4. By attending a South West Branch meeting and uttering an unprofessional statement thereby bringing his position within UKIP into disrepute.
a) See minutes of the meeting
5. By making false statements to other UKIP members.
a) Mr Reeve falsely stated to Clive Page, I understand a convicted fraudster, Annabelle Fuller, who despite her so called resignation I understand is now working for an MEP and Dr John Whittaker, retired UKIP Party Chairman that I had spoken to Daniel Foggo, a newspaper reporter. This was nothing other than lies and trouble making by Peter Reeve.
6. By physically assaulting a person at a UKIP meeting.
a) This is an ongoing situation and as I have been asked by Cambridgeshire Police to make a statement at this stage I will not comment further.
7. I understand that Mr Reeve is also under an investigation by the Inland Revenue, again as I have made a statement to the authorities I cannot comment further.
8. I have also requested leaflets for distribution by branch members, to- date received nothing, see copies of e-mails attached.
9. In the minutes of the ECC meeting, 08/081 I quote, “SG (Stewart Gulleford) reported that about 100 people attended but TW (Tom Wise) had tried to undermine it” End of quote, Mr Party Chairman, what actually happened was that Peter Reeve had tried to hijack the Battle Bus which I, yes me Mr Party Chairman, had taken to a garage for repairs, I then drove it on to the ‘Webbington Hotel’ where I had promised it to Mr Roger Knapman MEP for a Conference, Mr Tom Wise was not involved at all in this, all Tom did was to organise the bringing over of the ‘Battle Bus’ from Brussels, thereafter I organised the arrangements of where and when it would go. When the bus arrived the first person I offered it to was Mr Reeve who decided he would not use it because I worked for Tom, I then approached other Regional Organisers who jumped at the chance, hundreds of signatures were collected and many new members signed up along the South Coast, Somerset, the Black Country, Devon, including Newton Abbott and South Wales, all paid for by the Ind/Dem Group.
Mr Party Chairman, I am of the opinion that Peter Reeve is a liar and a bully and is neither a suitable person to remain the Regional Organiser for the Eastern Counties or indeed fit to remain a member of the United Kingdom Independence Party.
Mr Party Chairman I also desire that George Curtis is also brought before a Party disciplinary Committee on the following grounds:-
08/114 (ii) of the Eastern Counties Committee meeting dated October 10th 2008 GC, as he is known in the minutes stated, and I quote “GC noted that some of those attending the Newmarket meeting and critical of the MEP selection process had themselves stated that UKIP should not contest these elections, contrary to Party policy” end of quote. This of course is untrue, it is a lie, what was said was that unless the selection was conducted in a proper manner, which it was not, support would not be given to the elections. As Chairman of a Committee it is essential that reports are accurate.
08/104 (i) I quote again Mr Party Chairman “GC reported e-mails and telephone calls to him from Peter Cole ............... a small number of members in the Region trying to cause trouble” End of quote. Mr Party Chairman, I have never telephone George Curtis or in fact ever spoken to him, when this was stated I had only e-mailed him on behalf of Tom Wise UKIP MEP because George Curtis had not answered Tom’s letter, the moment I sent the e-mail a letter arrived from Mr Curtis. Copies of e-mails enclosed.
08/104(i) I Quote Mr Party Chairman, “It was agreed that GC will write to the Fenland Branch seeking from them in confidence a written statement of their complaints” End of quote. This was minuted on September 9th 2008, I, as Fenland Branch Chairman or our Branch Secretary, have not received that letter, I ask, Mr Party Chairman, what is the point of having a committee when the Chairman ignores the meetings conclusions?
The contents of a letter sent to John West on November 25th I consider explains why John West was not selected as a candidate and because Christopher Hudson who helped John with the Law & Order Conference, at which Mr Party Chairman you spoke, he too was not selected. The final paragraph in that letter is a threat. How someone cannot select these two gentlemen, Christopher in particular, with all of his political experience, when a 19 year old school girl living in Ireland is selected, is beyond comprehension. Copy of letter attached.
The conclusion Mr Party Chairman is that Peter Reeve is quite willing to feed false information to the ECC and unfortunately Mr Curtis is a liar, bully by threat and gullible and accepts whatever is said by Mr Reeve, thereby rendering himself unsuitable as a chairman of any committee or indeed as a member of the United Kingdom Independence Party.
Mr Party Chairman, I hope you will take action on my requests immediately. Thank you.
4. OBSERVATIONS AND REMARKS BY THE ASSEMBLED COMPANY
4.1 ROBIN PAGE
RP believes in stating the truth. His personal ambition at the present time is zero, his ambition for Great Britain is enormous. The Party had opportunities and they have been thrown away.
RP applied for MEP selection because a vast number of people believed in him and wanted him to stand. Due to an accident which was followed by a bout of Bronchitis he telephoned Peter Reeve and asked for his help and also spoke to David Challis explaining the situation. Peter Reeve said he would attend a meeting to get papers signed and it was confirmed by Stuart Agnew that this was being sorted out. When RP was fit to return to work, he was informed that his application had arrived too late, even though Peter Reeve and David Challis had said this would be acceptable. It is the opinion of RP that he was ambushed and this was also confirmed in a report from Piers Merchant (Returning Officer). It appears that dirty tricks were played by the Chelmsford office and this was confirmed when it was found all relevant data on their computer had been wiped off so no investigation could be carried out. RP appealed and it was discussed at a Political Meeting which is chaired by Nigel Farage. There is no agenda or minutes available of this meeting.
Paul Nuttall explained that the Political Meetings chaired by Nigel Farage do not have an agenda nor are they minuted as attendees change from meeting to meeting.
RP has now placed his grievance with the Data Information Act. George Curtis has said to RP that he would not have achieved the top nine candidates anyway.
RP stated that under the Constitution only one person can be proposed by a member. There is a case where this has not been followed.
RP is of the opinion that the Executive have stolen UKIP from the grass roots. He wants UKIP to win but is concerned about what is going on within the Party. How can we go to the Country to clean up the EU when there are issues like this going on. UKIP must get its act together or members will leave in droves.
4.2 PETER REEVE
Selection Process - Some of what Robin says is correct but some is wrong and this is what happened in the Selection Process:-
PR said “why are we here today? We all believe in what UKIP is trying to do and other Parties are scared of us. Other Parties actually believe that what our Party is doing is a threat. I am a self critical person. We are all on the same side and are achieving. Ask a Conservative candidate about the UKIP threat. Look at the Polls – we are up to about 10% pre-selection. Why are we here today – there are over 300 hours of campaign time being consumed. If we fail in this election we will not make UKIP. The real point is we are all on the same side. We are consuming valuable time. I believed the Party Chairman was organising this meeting today. I now find it is to do with the Newmarket Declaration with hand-picked members in attendance.”
Martin Harvey confirmed this meeting was organised specifically to discuss the Newmarket Declaration and he asked PR to please stick to the agenda.
PR stated that the Declaration was represented on the internet yesterday evening. PR said he came for a discussion which has culminated in these issues. What I believe is that this meeting was brought on by Marion Mason’s feelings that I should come and speak to you all. The Party Chairman said we will speak to these people but not for the Declaration.
With regard to the Selection Process, I will answer any questions. Piers Merchant’s report concluded by him saying that he had insufficient time to go through things thoroughly. What he is saying is that here is a brief overview. The actual fact is that he did not speak to anyone dealing with the process. Jeffrey Titford wanted to be out of the process because he did not want to be in a position of difficulty. The whole process has been open and above board. Why are we focused on rules, we should be out there talking to the people.
With regard to filling in Robin’s forms, I did not know sufficient details.
PR repeated that 300 campaign hours are being lost today. This meeting contains a hand-picked group with concerns. There are a lot of people who have not been invited. Do not go away with any idea that this is an opinion across the region. I am proud of the selection process and it was most professionally carried out.
Eastern Regional Committee – Contradicted when the problems were. To my knowledge, at that time, a number of people applying for the post were less than the number of positions available so it would have been a waste of time. It is a set precedent in this country when you know the outcome. The Committee has put in a lot of time to raise money. Their remit was to raise as much money as possible. The question is why is there all this fuss anyway as it is in the fulfilment.
Martin Harvey intervened by saying PR had over-run his time allocation, had spoken for longer than anyone else and to please conclude.
PR said he was interested in what is being said and what other chairmen, not present, had to say. Martin Harvey explained that he has collated all the details and they have been passed to Paul Nuttall (Party Chairman).
4.3 JACK TYLER
A letter was sent to John Whittaker voicing the Waveney Branch’s concerns over the MEP pre-selections and no reply has ever been received. One member of the Pre-Selection Panel corresponded with a candidate regarding their application form and one of the statements within that correspondence could have been seen as a threat. Any member of the panel stating his preference should do so publicly. Another member was an assenter to a candidate and another member had a family connection. JT said he could name any of these members, albeit he would prefer not to in case of repercussions.
4.4 LEN BAYNES
LB explained his background in UKIP and the fact that he was originally a member of the Regional Committee in the lead up to the elections. Since that time he has never been invited to attend a meeting and has not received any correspondence from them until quite recently. In the last two years he has become more and more disillusioned and had thoughts of resigning from the Party. The whole system has gone wrong. In the Eastern Counties there is a hard working nucleus but it has gone downhill. The Executive needs to give the members in this county the chance to select their own Regional Committee. LB called for Peter Reeve and George Curtis to stand down.
4.5 BILL MOUNTFORD
I want to live in a democracy and am trying to resolve what is going wrong in the Party. Everyone is aware it starts with the Leader, Nigel Farage but it actually starts with us, the infantry. There is a bit of a scrabble going on. It is a gravy boat and not a gravy train and there is a struggle to get on there. If there is a flawed selection procedure we have brought it on ourselves. All Parties can be infiltrated. What would I do if a Party has been infiltrated at a higher level? I would say lets have a regional committee which is elected by us.
Peter Reeve interrupted by stating that BM is bearing his thoughts on the people present.
Peter Cole followed on by saying the Declaration was signed in September 2008 and it is now January 2009. He emphasised that the meeting today was organised by Martin Harvey and not Paul Nuttall. Everyone except Peter Reeve and George Curtis had been courteous and had responded to their invitation to attend.
4.6. BOB COLMAN
We have been sitting on the fence for a long time. A lot of it is rubbish. We do not know the truth of the matter. There are a lot of problems which clearly started two years ago. My branch have written many letters to the NEC but had no replies. I have followed this up by telephoning Head Office to explain that I need to speak to someone. I was informed by Head Office that they are not really Head Office as they cannot do anything. What does this indicate to the rest of us to get out there and do something for the Party. I have been demoralised and do not have the heart to talk to people as I do not have that conviction. The advertising of the Party to the public is nil and we do not get enough information over to people.
I am upset today that there have been a lot of accusations. I had hoped Peter Reeve would answer these accusations and he has not answered the questions put to him. If the issues are not addressed soon, the Leadership should stand down. If they want us to get out there and speak for England then all issues need to be sorted out now.
4.7 RON HURRELL
I will set Peter Reeve right as to why I am here. There is a festering sore which has been going on for a number of years.
The time is 1215 and George Curtis arrived. He gave his apologies.
Ron Hurrell continued. The Selection Committee comprised of different people on different days. This should not be allowed. I am a man of principle. I am becoming punch-drunk with all the spin. If the Leadership had any degree of leadership the problems would have been cleared up years ago. I will have to consider my membership. I wrote to George Curtis asking him if I could have copies of minutes of his meetings. He wrote back to say the procedure was boring and some of it was confidential. What is a Cabal? Is it a name for the Eastern Regional Committee? What I say is get this dissatisfaction cleared up and let us get rid of the puss.
John Croft – I am going to question someone about the selection process and will speak more about this during the second part of the meeting.
5 PAUL NUTTALL
The problems all seem to have taken place at the time of my predecessor, John Whittaker. Communication is dire and there is no information from the NEC. Unfortunately by the time a problem reaches the Party Chairman it has already festered. We will have to look at this. PN emphasised the following three statements:-
1. After the 2009 elections we will need to disband the Regional Committee.
2. We need an internal communications committee, which will allow branches to pass information via them to the NEC. This will be up and running next month
3. After the elections in June I will look at how the NEC is set up. It is crazy how members vote for NEC members. This needs to be done on a regional basis.
PN continued - In terms of public forums, there are a number of websites I am not happy about. Many sites are set up from the United States. The problems are from both sides and a lot of the information given is factually incorrect.
I have attended a meeting in the South East to sort out problems. I do admit there are also problems here.
The membership is not falling any more. I have lots of leaflets to hand out. We are building momentum for the general campaign. It is all about campaigning. Branches should take the initiative and they can purchase leaflets on the UKIP Forum.
In terms of the Political Committee regarding Robin Page, there was no agenda and no minutes taken. It is Nigel Farage’s committee and he chooses who attends. It is not always the same people who attend as it is dependent on what is to be discussed. Nigel calls a meeting as and when he requires it.
Robin Page said the grass roots already feel let down. He has spoken to Nigel and asked for a meeting with him. Nigel has refused.
Paul Nuttall asked for this to be left with him to deal. At the questions and answers item on the agenda, he will give straight answers.
6. The meeting adjourned for lunch at 1235 and recommenced at 1.20 pm. Robin Paige was not available for the afternoon session.
7. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Martin Harvey said Paul Nuttall has given us some hope and is acknowledging that we have some local problems.
Bob Colman – With regard to Nigel Farage and the set up of the Political Committee, it seems that he is able to choose who he wants rather than someone who can contribute importance. Can he not appoint people as a think tank to sit at certain times to decide on what is the best way to deal with issues? This would be better than pulling in people from here and there.
Paul Nuttall – That is what the Political Committee is meant to be, i.e., when Nigel wants a meeting he can call one and that is allowed for under the Constitution. There are no minutes taken as a lot of the discussions are with regard to future policy.
Action: Paul Nuttall will bring this up.
Jonathon Arnott – The Political Committee is set up to relate on the up and running of the Party, i.e., when information is required from the press team, they will be invited to attend the meeting and will form part of the committee on that occasion. It is an advisory committee and not a decision making committee. It is there as a support. This is the only committee the Leader can appoint. There are concerns about these committee meetings being minuted but if they were made public there are specifics which we would not wish other Parties to see. It could be called a working group and not a Committee. The new set up will allow this.
Paul Nuttall – The communication is dire. No-one in Head Office knows what is going on. These people, who will sit on the proposed Interim Committee, will be meeting once a month. It is possible we may need to re-evaluate the Party. Enthusiasm and Party membership will start to rise from February once the billboards go up. We do not have sufficient man-power and these needs to be addressed.
Eddie Worster - When will you be advising whether there will be a re-run for the EU elections?
Paul Nuttall – The only people who can make this decision is the NEC.
Eddie Worster – All promises are ignored.
Paul Nuttall – Will you all put in writing to me your concerns regarding the Selection of proposed MEPs and I will raise it at the next meeting of the NEC. Action: All
Eddie Worster – I suggest you take this from this meeting to the NEC and to note that we require a decision by a set date. This was agreed by all with the added comment of ‘We want the truth’.
Paul Nuttall – The NEC took a vote on this before. I agree to take this back to the NEC. Action – Paul Nuttall.
Martin Harvey – The meeting today has a specific agenda. We have invited the Party Chairman, Paul Nuttall, to meet with us. Attendance is by invitation only We appear to be having some good come out of this meeting.
John Croft – In this particular instance I will take the word of the UKIP Chairman. Discretion is the better part of valour.
Peter Reeve – One thing which has not come up regarding the selection process is that every single candidate’s opening question was ‘Are you happy with this interview process on this day?’
Marion Mason – Regarding the Newmarket Declaration, the meeting agenda was sidelined by a few problems. Is it good for the Party now to go through a new selection process? I do not think it is conclusive.
Peter Cole – I do not think we are asking for a reselection. Each person who put their name forward should go to the eastern counties and let the eastern counties members make the decision.
George Curtis – I was the original chairman and am a member of the national selection committee. I have given a considerable amount of my time to this. There was a standard questionnaire. The third person on the panel was Jeffrey Titford and on the second day it was 3 others. There were 16 candidates in total. Seven candidates will fall by the wayside. The candidates were very good. They were given 30/40 minutes to go through the questionnaire and we went through their CVs. They then went through the process of the media test where they were given a hostile interview. At the end of this three of us gave up a total of points awarded. We then compared scores. We amended figures if we felt it was needed where there were vast differences in our scores. The top nine (9) candidates scored nearly all the same. It was a very close run thing. Most of the critics have not had privy. With regard to Robin Page, as I said his papers were not put in as they were late and incomplete. There were ‘jeers’ and cries of ‘lies’ from the floor, GC turned shaking and said ‘SHUT UP’.
It was noted that this was discussed during the morning session before George Curtis had arrived.
Peter Reeve – I did speak to Robin Page during the lunch adjournment and had asked him if he felt there was a communication breakdown. Robin Page has declined to discuss the matter.
Marion Mason – I am not prejudiced. If the form was not completed it could not be submitted. It does need to be level.
Jonathon Arnott – The original question was whether the MEP selection procedure was correct and if not should it be re-run. It is not something we can answer as the NEC would have to consider the matter and make a decision. There is a need to consider the political impact this would have and the time scales involved. All sixteen (16) names would have to go forward and there would be the problem of sufficient time in arranging the hustings, which could not take place until after the NEC decision at their meeting. It would be difficult to have a question and answer session. In order to do this it would require for a Selection Panel to be selected. In order for that to be done you may well find other people would say, ‘I would like to get on this’. The argument would be’ if those papers were not in on time, my paper can go in now’. It is quite possible that the first and second places could still be the same again in a re-run. The campaign could be harmed rather than helped.
Peter Cole – This is why we asked for this meeting some three months ago. The NEC should move themselves.
Peter Reeve – Chances are you will have the same people. The real reason is that this is how we select MEPs. There are lots of ways this can be done. We could compile a folder and send out to everyone. Every process has a flaw.
Paul Nuttall – Will this room guarantee that they agree with the decision of the NEC?
Doug Dilley - We are going over and over the same ground. Is it true the Eastern Regional Committee will disband after these elections?
George Curtis – I became Chairman in 2004. After the Hustings then it was noted that there was no confidence in the Eastern Regional Committee. I therefore resigned. Martin Harvey was at that time the Vice Chairman but he did not want to take over as Chairman. Martin Harvey asked me to do the job; I did not seek the position. Ten candidates applied to sit on the committee. The ten volunteers became the new committee. Martin Harvey wanted a new committee selected under complicated rules. It was noted that this point was covered during the morning session of the meeting.
Paul Nuttall – We need to compromise on this issue. Let us select a new Regional Committee in July after the elections. This was agreed.
Peter Cole – How will this be done? Will this come from you as Chairman of the NEC?
Paul Nuttall said he would look at the rules. Action: Paul Nuttall
Peter Cole produced a copy of the rules and passed them to Paul Nuttall
George Curtis advised to get the EU elections out of the way in June before dealing with selecting a new committee.
Ray Lomas – We would like a statement from the NEC
George Curtis – We need to do this properly.
John Crofts – asked George Curtis if he was prepared to distribute the Regional Committee minutes to branch Chairmen as stated in the rules.
George Curtis said he does not have any problem with this but he needs to put this to a full committee and treat it with his discretion. (His last meeting was badly attended).
Martin Harvey – I have worked on a good system of selection. This was passed by the NEC in February 2006. It is a system which brings all the branches together. By having a proper selection we will get the best from the East.
Jonathon Arnott – The way we do the minutes for the NEC meetings we have the same problem where there are different levels of confidentiality. We keep two sets of minutes which are a full and accurate account. The confidential copy goes to NEC members only. The other copy does not include confidential information. Something similar could be done with the minutes of the Regional Committee. It was agreed that a non-confidential set of Regional Committee minutes would be made available on the website. Action: George Curtis
Martin Harvey – The general thrust of this meeting is we need the truth.
Bob Colman – Discourage members from using the Internet.
Paul Nuttall – suggested that only hard copies be sent by external mail to NEC members. That is safer than using e-mail.
Bob Colman – Do you have any information as to when there may be a General Election?
Peter Reeve – People in East Anglia are happy.
Bob Colman – Disagreed with Peter Reeve We have to remain unhappy at this point. It is unfortunate we have to state that we are unhappy but we need to get it right after the elections.
Martin Harvey – We will look at election rules after June. We need to get everything right.
Jonathon Arnott – With regard to a General Election, none of us knows exactly. I suspect that there probably wont be one this year.
Doug Dilly proposed that Paul Nuttall begin to sort out a new Regional Committee in July 2008. Will it be organised by Paul Nuttall and/or the NEC? The existing Regional Committee should have no input into the selection of a new committee. This was agreed. The system should include the Branch Chairmen. All Branch Chairmen to receive a letter.
Peter Cole – emphasised that the letters should go to all branch chairmen.
Bertie Poole – Referred to previous MEP elections and spoke about getting on the gravy train. We do not need meetings in Brussels. MEPs should give half their salary to the Party. We are losing track about what we are about.
Paul Nuttall – I do not think we should take part in EU by abstaining and not voting.
Peter Cole – MEPs only need to be in Strasburg 48 days a year, 10 days in Brussels and spend the rest of the time in this Country.
Len Baynes said this could be put to the NEC.
Jonathon Arnott – Let someone like Paul Nuttall go out there to see how it is done and this could then be put to the NEC.
8. RESPONSES - PAUL NUTTALL
Thank you for inviting me to this meeting. It has been very productive. There is room for compromise. We are fighting for the same thing and need to spread the message. June is only the beginning and the window will be open for only three months.
I would like to take a vote on three compromises:-
1. Have an election for a new Regional Committee in July 2009.
23 in favour
2 abstentions (5 were counted but 3 were from outside the region)
2. The minutes of the ECC will be sent to all Chairmen on the terms Jonathon Arnott put forward (a non confidential set to be placed on the website with immediate effect.
3. Rerunning the Eastern Regional Committee. Will you agree to take the NEC’s decision as final? This was not agreed with at this time.
9. Discussed in items 7 and 8
10 CHAIRMAN’S CLOSING REMARKS
Martin Harvey thanked all in attendance.
END OF MEETING.
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