UKIP’s largest financial donor Arron Banks has been suspended from the party, stating that he is now concentrating on a “new movement” which he has dubbed “UKIP 2.0”.
As revealed by HOPE not hate, this is the outcome of a deliberate campaign by Banks and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to undermine the party, in order to start a new populist, far-right venture.
Leave.EU campaign head honcho Banks, who has donated over £1 million to UKIP, has been harshly critical of party leader Paul Nuttall and claims to have been ditched for saying the leadership “couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding”. So vital is Banks’ money that his departure could doom the ailing party.
However a source close to the Leave.EU leadership has told HOPE not hate that since the EU Referendum in June 2016, Banks and Leave.EU communications official Andy Wigmore have been actively trying to sink UKIP in order to clear the ground for a new movement.
A Farage loyalist and immigration hardliner, Banks has long spoken of pouring his considerable resources into a populist campaign that utilises the online tactics of Leave.EU (the unofficial Brexit campaign alongside Vote Leave, which used sophisticated data capture and profiling techniques during the Referendum) to target younger voters.
Banks has repeatedly scorned UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell and the moderate, libertarian faction within UKIP, and has expressed his displeasure for Nuttall’s desire to “push [UKIP] to the centre” instead of standing on a “radical” platform.
HOPE not hate understands that Banks and Wigmore have convinced Farage to make the break too, and that the trio have enacted a calculated plan to undermine UKIP to the point it splits and the membership haemorrhages.
The opening salvo was fired by Farage, who claimed at a recent UKIP conference that Nuttall’s success in the Stoke by-election in February 2017 was crucial for the future of UKIP. After Nuttall’s failure, Farage stated that the party must be “radical” and “own immigration”, forcing confrontation between the moderate faction and the hardliners.
Banks then released an open letter demanding that he be made UKIP Chairman or he would pull his millions. Farage began calling for Carswell to be expelled, and Banks promised to run against Carswell in an effort to unseat him in the 2020 General Election. Banks also recently told The Independent that Nuttall was “quite weak” and that the party was “run like a squash club committee”.
UKIP is in dire financial straits, having lost multiple funders over the past year, and recently being ordered to repay more than €172,000 by the European Parliament (EP), after an EP group led by UKIP was found to have misspent over €500,000 of European grant money on domestic political campaigns.
Nuttall will have to display remarkable resourcefulness to keep UKIP afloat now that Banks has finally pulled the financial plug.
“We will now be concentrating on our new movement,” Banks said in a statement released through his populist blog Westmonster.com. Accompanying the statement was a picture of Banks flanked by Wigmore and Farage.