Posted on May 10, 2018

UKIP Suffers Catastrophic Near-Wipeout in Local Elections

James Tapsfield, Daily Mail, May 4, 2018


Ukip’s general secretary compared the party to the ‘Black Death’ today as it suffered a catastrophic collapsed in the local elections.

Paul Oakley made the bizarre comments with the Brexit cheerleaders facing the loss of almost all the council seats it won four years ago.

He said the plague appeared in the Middle Ages and ’caused disruption’ before ‘going dormant’ — suggesting Ukip could do the same.

Pressed if he thought it was a good idea to liken his party to the notorious disease, Mr Oakley said although it killed millions of people the Black Death also ‘led to economic growth and the Rennaisance’.

Ukip has clung on to just two seats — one of which was a gain in Derby in defiance of the nationwide performance.

The dire results come in the wake of almost two years of total chaos inside Ukip the EU referendum.

It has burned through five leaders in just 18 months since Nigel Farage quit in November 2016, as the Brexit victory destroyed at a stroke the party’s purpose and unity.

But Mr Oakley told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme it was not ‘all over’ for the party.

‘Think of the Black Death in the Middle Ages. It comes along and it causes disruption and then it goes dormant, and that’s exactly what we are going to do. Our time isn’t finished because Brexit is being betrayed,’ he said.

Asked if the comparison was a good idea, he replied: ‘Absolutely. What’s wrong with that?”

He said of the Black Death: ‘It also led to economic growth and the Renaissance. It got rid of the whole issue of servitude, basically, and allowed people to go into the towns and escape their landlords and create their own businesses.’

Mr Oakley said Ukip had been hit by the failure of former leader Henry Bolton to start campaigning early enough and by a court order to pay £175,000 to Labour MPs as a result of a libel case.

‘We were never going to do brilliantly in these elections, we knew that. We accepted that some time ago,’ he said.

‘If we had had the money to campaign, we would have done a lot better. We are never going to take over councils all over the country. Four years ago was our high point.’

Earlier, Ukip former deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans admitted it had not been a good night for the party but pointed to its victories in Derby.

She told BBC News: ‘I have to say, three councillors in Derby, one of them actually unseating the leader of the Labour council, it might not be Ukip’s night but my goodness me when we do win we do it with style and we really put the cat among the pigeons.’

She added: ‘If Ukip does crumble I think you could still arguably make the case that it’s been one of the most successful political parties in history.’

Ukip voters have flooded back to the main parties, breaking roughly two to one in favour of the Tories.

The impact has varied widely across the country with Labour receiving huge boosts in support in some areas.

The outcome will raise fresh doubts about the future of Ukip, as it struggles with financial woes and tumultuous infighting.

Current leader Gerard Batten has admitted the party is engaged in a fight for survival.

His predecessor, Henry Bolton was ousted after it emerged he had started a relationship with model Jo Marney.

Ms Marney was embroiled in a racism row after sending messages with jibes including that Meghan Markle’s mixed-race background would ‘taint’ the royal family.