UKIP has blocked a debate over whether Tommy Robinson should be admitted to the party, in a major U-turn over what they claim is a “contravention of the Party Rule Book.” according to Kipper Central.
Robinson’s supporters, however, argue that the party rulebook was very closely followed and that there is more to the decision to block the debate than simply a technicality.
Kipper Central reported that the blocked motion, which UKIP’s chairman Tony McIntyre had originally approved for debate at the party’s national conference this month, called for UKIP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) to consider offering Robinson party membership.
In a statement released to party members, McIntyre explained that the party’s rule book states that conference motions must be put forward by a UKIP branch, but that the Tommy Robinson motion was proposed by two party members, not a branch and therefore has been blocked.
He wrote: “I have made it a point during my tenure as Chairman of the Party to adhere strictly to the Party Rules, as they are the backbone of the Party.
“I believe strongly in freedom of speech and would suggest that this motion is presented to the next Autumn Party Conference via the correct channels.
“I take full responsibility for this error in judgement as it is mine and mine alone.”
However, supporters of Robinson have pointed out that the party rulebook allows for “Emergency Motions” which can be submitted after the standard deadline and do not need to be proposed by a branch.
Rule D.11 of the party’s rulebook states: “Emergency motions may be considered in the event that, during the month before Conference, there is such a major political change either internal to UKIP or external that it demands further consultation with the Party membership.”
Ordinary motions must be proposed by branches at least a month in advance of the national conference, but emergency motions can be proposed at any time up to conference.
The original motion, which was proposed by UKIP’s Family & Children spokesman Alan Craig, was proposed within a month of Conference, so the only basis for it to have been accepted was that it was an emergency motion. On this basis, Robinson’s supporters claim, the motion did not need a branch behind it, and is still as valid as when it was first accepted.
The motion read: “Conference believes that Tommy Robinson is a global figure who stands in the long English tradition of anti-establishment rebels with a cause from Robin Hood to the Suffragettes; admires his campaigns both for #FreeSpeech and to expose the authorities’ decades-long silence and inaction over the industrial-scale child sexual abuse by rape gangs; and requests the NEC to consider offering him membership of UKIP.”
Craig told Kipper Central: “It is puzzling that party chairman Tony McIntyre has cancelled the conference debate on the ‘Tommy Robinson’ motion having only just approved it on Sunday, as nothing procedurally or otherwise has changed.
“Reece Coombes and I submitted the motion on 31st August (a) as individuals, and (b) significantly after the deadline for branch motions. It was plain to see on both counts, therefore, that our motion did not qualify as a normal branch motion and we did not submit it as such.
“However within the party rules, the chairman has discretion. For instance, under Rule D11 the chairman has the option to approve non-branch emergency motions. It is reasonable to assume that, as a rule-conscious and honourable chairman, Tony approved the motion on Sunday under these or other discretionary powers given to him.
“On Sunday he rightly approved the motion. He has today unapproved it. What caused him to change his mind?”