United Kingdom Independence Party
The United Kingdom Independence Party, also known by the acronym UKIP, is a British political party. Founded in 1993, it campaigns for British withdrawal from the European Union (EU). Its support-base is made up substantially of right-wing voters opposed to the surrender of British sovereignty. The current leader of UKIP is Nigel Farage. UKIP is the fastest-growing British political party. It currently has over 22,000 thousand members, up from 17,000 in 2011.
In the 2008 European elections UKIP came second. with 16.5% of the vote and 13 of the UK's 78 seats in the European Parliament In the Parliamentary election of May 6th 2010, UKIP got 3.1% of the vote, a total of 917,232, an increase of 50% on the previous parliamentary election vote. However, owing to the electoral system, they still did not receive any MPs. This makes them the largest unrepresented party in the UK. UKIP has 2 members in the House of Lords.
Under the leadership of Nigel Farage, UKIP broadened its political agenda. It now has policies on tax, defence, the health service, education, electoral reform and constitutional reform.
UKIP attracts alienated voters especially on the right who are critical of the centralized and undemocratic structure of the EU. UKIP has endorsed a British centre-right economic agenda. It proposes a flat tax of 33% and opposes national identity cards. It is sceptical of the more extreme claims of AGW and critical of carbon-permits and other EU environmental policies as economically and environmentally harmful. www.ukip.org/manifesto UKIP is frequently accused of being a racist party and associated with racist parties in the media. However, UKIP membership is open to all regardless of ethnic origin and in the 2010 election UKIP fielded a significant number of candidates who are members of ethnic minorities. Sine the 2010 general election UKIP has seen a significant growth in support which has resulted in them overtaking the govening Liberal Democratsin the polls at the end of 2012.
House of Commons Whilst UKIP has not won a seat in the House of Commons, the party has had representation (albeit for only a relatively short time) when Dr Bob Spink, MP for Castle Point, resigned from the Conservative Party and joined UKIP on 21 April 2008. (In the UK, MPs are not required to resign as MPs if they change their party allegiance.) However, by November 2008, Spink had left UKIP having found himself at odds with party colleagues on various issues. UKIP has no representation in the House of Commons currently. House of Lords On 24 June 1995, UKIP gained its first member of the House of Lords in the form of Richard Norton, 8th Baron Grantley, who had joined the party in 1993 from the Conservatives and had recently succeeded to his father's titles. However, with the coming House of Lords Act 1999, he decided not to stand for election as a continuing member, and so left the House in November 1999. Lords Pearson of Rannoch and Willoughby de Broke both defected to UKIP on 7 January 2007, giving the party its first representation in the House of Lords since Lord Grantley's departure. Lord Pearson went on to serve as party leader from November 2009 to September 2010. On 18 September 2012, David Stevens, Baron Stevens of Ludgate joined UKIP, having sat as an Independent Conservative since his expulsion from the Conservatives in 2004. Northern Ireland Assembly On 4 October 2012 UKIP gained its first representation in the Northern Ireland Assembly following the defection of David McNarry MLA for Strangford, who had been sitting as an independent, following his suspension from the Ulster Unionist Party. Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament UKIP do not currently have any representatives in the other devolved nations of Scotland or Wales. UKIP fielded 29 candidates at the Scottish Parliament election on 5 May. The party also fielded candidates in the Welsh Assembly. European Parliament In 1999, three UKIP members were elected to the European Parliament. Together with Eurosceptics from other countries, they formed a grouping called Europe of Democracies and Diversities (EDD). In 2004, 37 MEPs from the UK, Poland, Denmark and Sweden founded a new European Parliamentary group called Independence and Democracy (ID) from the old EDD group. However, following the European Parliament election, 2009, where Eurosceptic parties from Denmark, Sweden and elsewhere lost all representation, the ID group was dissolved. UKIP has since formed a new right-wing grouping called Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) comprising nationalist, Eurosceptic, conservative and other political factions. This group is more right wing than the older Independence and Democracy grouping. UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire was expelled from UKIP after resigning from the EFD grouping, citing her displeasure at what she perceived to be racist and extremist parties that belong to the EFD Group. Sinclaire also cited the deterioration of her relationship with Farage, the co-leader of the EFD group. Current MEP representatives UKIP has 11 MEPs in the European Parliament. Trevor Colman has left the EFD grouping but still stands for UKIP. Roger Helmer was elected as a Conservative MEP but defected to UKIP in March 2012. Constituency MEP(s) East Midlands Derek Clark, Roger Helmer East of England Stuart Agnew London Gerard Batten North West England Paul Nuttall South East England Nigel Farage South West England Trevor Colman, Earl of Dartmouth Wales John Bufton Yorkshire and the Humber Godfrey Bloom West Midlands Mike Nattrass Local government The first UKIP local Councillors in the UK were defectors from the Conservatives when Ellenor Bland was expelled from the Conservative Party by David Cameron in early 2007, for allegedly sending a racist email to other party members. Ellenor Bland and the majority of the Conservative Councillors on the Calne Wiltshire Town Council defected to UKIP. In the subsequent elction in May 2007 the group of defectors failed to be re-elected when standing for UKIP. In the May 2012 local elections, UKIP won a total of 7 seats in England out of 2,414 (no change on the previous year), 2 seats in Wales out of 1,223 (up 1) and no seats in Scotland out of 1,220 (down 1). On 6 May 2011, the party won nine out of the seventeen seats for Ramsey Town Council in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Before the election, the party had only one seat in the town council. On 12 May, UKIP councillor Lisa Duffy was elected as Mayor. The UKIP group leader for Huntingdonshire District Council said that the town council under UKIP would "be standing up for volunteers and the third sector and will be making grants to them to help the big society develop." It was reported that that UKIP "has made political history after taking control of its first council in the UK".
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