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Judge backs UKIP in selection row

Deselection of West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass was "not unfair"

Mike Nattrass
Mike Nattrass

A JUDGE has ruled that the selection process used by UKIP was fair, after the party told a West Midlands MEP he could not stand again for the party.

Mike Nattrass, who has represented the West Midlands in Brussels since 2004, was told he could not stand as a UKIP candidate in next year’s European Elections after failing the selection interview.

But a judge who threw out his attempt to halt the selection process has ruled that UKIP acted fairly.

His Hon Judge Charles Purle QC said in a ruling: “Mike Nattrass has not shown there has been a breach of fairness . . . nor that the consequences of any such alleged breach was his failure to be selected.

“He says that he should have been afforded a right to comment on aspects of his assessment, in particular his low scores relating to party loyalty.

“However, people form their own personal views of others in political life and it would be impossible to put to every candidate everything that might count against their selection for them to comment on.”

UKIP made sitting MEPs compete on equal terms with potential new candidates when choosing people to fight next year’s elections. Typically, sitting MPs, MEPs or councillors can expect to be re-selected by their parties unless a particular effort is made to remove them.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage
UKIP leader Nigel Farage
 

Mr Nattrass argues that he is paying the price for daring to disagree with party leader Nigel Farage over issues such as UKIP’s decision to join a controversial faction within the European Parliament called Europe of Freedom and Democracy. This includes Lega Nord, an Italian party sometimes known as Northern League in the UK, which advocates autonomy for the north of Italy.

He also offered some support to fellow West Midlands MEP Nikki Sinclaire, who was elected as a UKIP candidate in 2009 but left the party after also expressing concern about the Europe of Freedom and Democracy group.

Other West Midland hopefuls who failed to make the grade included Radio presenter Jon Gaunt, a UKIP member who was also rejected as a candidate.

A total of seven candidates have been selected in the West Midlands region.

 

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