UKIP must ‘reform or die’, says Arnott

UKIP's Jonathan Arnott, MEP for North East England
UKIP's Jonathan Arnott, MEP for North East England

Prospective UKIP leader Jonathan Arnott has set out his vision to unite the Party and bring democracy to its internal structures.

The North East MEP has warned that it must urgently ‘reform or die’. Campaigning takes place this month, ballot papers are issued to party members on September 1 and the winner is declared on September 15.

Mr Arnott served as UKIP’s General Secretary from 2008 to 2014, which he says makes him uniquely placed to understand the inner workings of the Party. He is backed in his leadership election campaign by deputy leader, Paul Nuttall MEP.

He said: “Under my leadership we’ll have an internal referendum about switching to regional representation on our National Executive Committee, to make sure that everyone can know their NEC representative. We’ll make sure that a report on every NEC meeting is made available to Party members, just like the system I introduced when I was General Secretary.

“We’ll make sure that rules for all kinds of elections, internal and external, are set out at least six months in advance so that everyone knows where they stand. We’ll give more teeth to the Party Conference and ensure that the NEC has to implement the motions it passes.

“And I’ll propose modernising our Party Constitution so that our structures are more robust. UKIP must reform its internal structures or die. But we can’t achieve reform by leading the Party up a blind alley, which some have called to do.

“Talk of an Extraordinary General Meeting to abolish the NEC is utter nonsense because an EGM doesn’t have such power. The notion of using an EGM to postpone the leadership election has no merit because it takes an absolute minimum of 49 days to call an EGM, by which time the contest will be over and a new Leader in place.

“We need a Leader who actually understands our Party Constitution and who knows what can and can’t be done. The internal structures of this Party desperately need reform and I’m the man to deliver that. I have six years of experience as General Secretary of UKIP.

“Those members who are unhappy should consider standing for the National Executive Committee; nominations for that election close just before the new Leader will be in place. With more than half the seats up for election, anyone who wishes to change the NEC needs to stand up and be counted,” he said.

Jonathan Arnott is 35 and married with no children. Originally from Sheffield, he now lives in Guisborough. He is a chess Candidate Master, football broadcaster and author. Before going into politics he was a mathematics teacher. He went to Sheffield University at the age of just 15, and eventually achieved a Masters Degree in Maths.