United Politics chats with Cllr Chris Wood, one of UKIPs elected representatives from Hampshire minutes before the new UKIP leader was announced lunchtime today. On Nigel’s final speech as leader the speech “was marvellous as always, he has worked tirelessly for the last 20 years result we received. It has just been an incredible 20 years worth of trying to win independence”. The ‘wins’ the party has had have stacked up beginning with council wins and reaching a crescendo in electoral terms with the 2014 European parliamentary elections.
When Nigel referred to the next leader as ‘probably a she’ did you read that as a victory for Diane James? – “Oh absolutely yeah, Diane will win, Diane will win” – “She has the ability to stand on stage with other leaders and win the debate, she will be a very good leader, we need somebody to steady the ship for the next few years and keep the conservatives feet to the fire” – Chris was proved to be right!
Chris would like to see proper devolution down to the regions going forward. “there’s no point leaving the European Union if all the power is still concentrated in Westminster” “It’s crucial that we have devolution down to local government”.
On the NEC and Diane’s proposals to shake things up: “We certainly need to reform the NEC but I don’t think it should be scrapped completely, there should be regional representation” “the problem with the NEC currently is that it opposes the leader and really it should agree with it” “It can’t just be a tool to fight the leadership”. “In the future it would be nice to see the NEC membership made up of a party board and elected members”
What do you think of people like Steve Stanbury who have waited until the conference weekend to announce his defection to the Conservative party? “I’m a little bit disappointed that people would decide to do this on the eve of conference, particularly people who have worked with the party before, they could have done it any time. They make the decision to get maximum publicity. That being said, on the upside, the people we have down here today are very loyal to the party.”
Thank you Cllr, enjoy the rest of the conference.