UKIP MEP vows his support for leader

Published: Fri May 13 2011

A UKIP MEP has thrown his support behind leader Nigel Farage after the party’s positive showing at last week’s local elections.

East Midlands MEP Derek Clark rejected calls from South East MEP, Marta Andreasen, for Mr Farage - who received 60 per cent of the membership vote only last November – to quit as leader.

Mr Clark disputed Ms Andreasen’s claim the party had done poorly in the council elections.

In England alone, the party gained 323,065 votes, compared to 208,180 in 2007.

He said: "I reject that completely and I continue to support Nigel as leader.

"In fact, data now being released shows Marta is completely wrong - while we did not gain many council seats, the results from across the country show a significant rise in our total vote.

"Scotland and Wales also show increased vote totals in their regional assembly elections, while Henry Reilly in Northern Ireland almost doubled his vote."

He pointed to the figures, which showed UKIP making significant electoral advances since 2007, polling a total of 390,555 votes nationwide in last Thursday’s local and regional elections – three times more votes, pro rata, than in last year’s General Election.

Mr Clark said he would continue to work with Ms Andreasen but said Mr Farage had his full backing as leader.

The party also dismissed the calls. UKIP executive chairman Steve Crowther said he was astonished at the resignation call and said it was a mis-reading of the political situation in the UK.

He said: "Our total vote in England, gained across only one-eighth of the total seats up for election, puts this result on a par with our performance in the 2009 European Elections.

"Though this did not translate into a huge number of wins – we made a net gain of four unitary, district and borough councillors, against the Greens’ 14, the English Democrats’ one and the BNP’s loss of 11 – it clearly showed we have made substantial progress in the past 12 months.

"We established ourselves as the fifth party in Wales, more than doubled our vote in Scotland and made a successful first entry into Northern Ireland, with our candidate Henry Reilly topping the poll in Kilkeel."

And in Mr Clark’s East Midlands constituency alone, UKIP fielded 109 candidates, up from 82 candidates at the last local elections in 2007 and won an encouraging 27,798 votes.

While in the European elections in the South East of England Ms Andreasen and Mr Farage finished ahead of Labour and the Liberal Democrats with nearly 20 per cent of the vote.
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