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Sunday, February 23, 2014

100 Year Membership Ban Unlawful

A former Ukip Scotland chair suspended from the party for 100 years for speaking to the media has had the ban overturned in court.
Judge Taylor said the sanction imposed on Paul Henke was "unlawful" and said current party chair Steve Crowther had not acted proportionately.

The row began after six of the nine candidates shortlisted by Ukip Scotland for the European election resigned over infighting.

David Coburn was eventually declared the winner in the disputed poll.

The farce prompted 10 party members to make a formal complaint about a series of false statements they claim Coburn had made.

Speaking to the Sunday Herald at the time, Henke, a 63-year-old thriller writer, said: "I expect the complaint to be investigated properly. I believe Ukip to be an up-front party run by honourable people. We should have honourable people as candidates."

The statement prompted Crowther to email Henke, writing: "This is to inform you that I am today suspending your membership of the party for a period of 100 years ... As a signatory of the complaint against our Scottish candidate which has been passed to the Sunday Herald, and having given your opinion on that subject to the Sunday Herald last week, you have brought the party into disrepute, and appear to be engaged in deliberately sabotaging our election campaign in Scotland."

Henke pursued legal action and had his case heard at Central London County Court on Thursday.
After listening to legal arguments, the judge said Crowther had "showed no due regard to proportionality" and declared the ban "null and void".

    Unfortunately UKIP's central organisation will have to pay the substantial legal costs of all & punitive damages.

    I do not think it would be proper for me to say anything else here other than to point out that UKIP's constitution, which is very democratic, does not allow for expulsion without good reason (unlike the LibDems who, as I have experienced) do and that I hope any UKIP member across the country will see "100 year suspension" as having been an unwise attempt to get round our constitution.

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As a neutral observer who would like our membership of the EU and it's likely ambitions fully discussed I would have thought that a "hundred year" ban for the alleged offences was far more damaging to the electoral prospects of your party. What significant managerial experience has this Crowther fellow got?
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