— UPDATE —
I’ve checked and I am still a member, disproving claims I flounced, resigning, from the Party when not selected for the Euro lists.
Will an apology be forthcoming? I doubt it.
I am loath to use this website until I regain control and can change the design but it shall have to do for now.
I would like to use this space to clarify a few points about comments I made yesterday on a panel debate for London Live. Partly to put across my version of events and partly because I want to step away from twitter for the evening.
1. I did not choose to take part in an interview with the Independent. Emily Dugan, their Social Affairs Correspondent, was on the panel with me to discuss the rising cost of living in London. That is how we met, not through me seeking media attention in a ‘newspaper’ hostile to UKIP.
2. I made the conscious decision around a year ago to move away from professional politics and retrain in psychology, with the aim of pursuing a career in mental health. I still take part in tv/radio/panel debates but no longer under the UKIP banner. This is simply because a) I do not want to be affiliated with any political party; and b) I am not an official party spokesperson, so claiming to speak for UKIP would, I believe, be wrong. This is why I asked for my tag-line to be changed on London Live; not because I have performed a spectacular volte face and rejected UKIP.
3. The Indy called me after the London Live show and pushed me to clarify my position. I asked Emily to let it go and tried to explain what I have written above. Perhaps naively, I thought that if I explained that I want to slip out of politics quietly and be in a position where I may speak for myself, not for my party, the journalist might respect my wishes. Of course, I was wrong.
4. On immigration. I have never hidden my stance on immigration. I understand that for many across the country it is a key issue and that it is one through which UKIP is gaining a great deal of support.
Personally, I joined UKIP because I believe in low taxes, national sovereignty, grammar schools and a sensible energy policy. UKIP want a points based immigration system; for as long as we remain a part of the EU, I agree. However, I do not like the way UKIP has chosen to focus on immigration and was uncomfortable with the scare mongering about Bulgarians and Romanians that we witnessed in the latter part of last year.
5. There is a piece in – you guessed it – The Independent this evening, ostensibly penned by Nigel Farage. It is claimed that I resigned my membership when I was not selected for the European lists. Of all the vitriolic emails, twitter threats, personal attacks and misrepresentation that I have been subject to over the past 24 hours, this is the one that riles.
I did not resign my membership when I was not selected. Around six months afterwards I flirted with the idea of leaving the Party and decided not to. The two are not connected.
Frankly, I am baffled as to why anybody – let alone a series of national newspapers – would care about what I have to say, particularly given I have repeatedly confirmed that I am (or perhaps was?) a member and intend to vote for UKIP in the coming elections.
Politically, I am a nobody. I am not standing for election, I do not hold political office and I am not in the employ of any political party. The events of the past 24 hours, and I have no doubt it will roll on some more, have reminded me why I am seeking to work in a different field. It is also a prime example of why we do not see enough women in politics.
Thanks for reading.