UKIP’S furious former deputy leader is taking his own party to court – after dubbing bombshell news he’s been barred from standing again as an MEP a “stitch-up”.
Mike Nattrass, who has represented the West Midlands as an MEP since 2004, said: “I’m not going to just walk away because some prat has decided my face doesn’t fit.”
He claimed he’s been forced out for refusing to blindly follow party leader Nigel Farage. A judge in Birmingham will today consider Mr Nattrass’s application for a review of the UKIP selection process for the 2014 European election candidates.
The party has picked seven members to stand in the region next year – but they do not include Mr Nattrass, told his application had been rejected.
Potential candidates went through a lengthy selection process which included delivering a speech and an interview infront of a panel led by UKIP party chairman Steve Crowther.
Mr Nattrass said he had been told, informally, he failed the interview.
But he said: “It was a stitch-up.
“It is a similar story across the country. People who are willing to do service to Mr Farage have been selected.
“I support the principles UKIP stands for, but this is not the way to run a party.”
Mr Nattrass warned UKIP is increasingly becoming a “one man show” focused around its charismatic leader. “I’m not going to lie down and give up without a fight. What’s happened is a breach of democracy.”
He publicly clashed with Mr Farage in 2010 over UKIP’s decision to join a controversial faction within the European Parliament called Europe of Freedom and Democracy.
Today’s legal hearing will determine whether Mr Nattrass is able to mount a courtroom challenge over the selection process.
UKIP insisted all candidates are treated equally. Sitting MEPs had to go through the same process as everyone else and are not automatically re-selected.
A spokesman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment with a court case coming up.”