Ex-UKIP leader Paul Nuttall quits party

Paul Nuttall has turned his back on UKIP | Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images

Ex-UKIP leader Paul Nuttall quits party

The Euroskeptic party’s current leadership alienates top members by appointing far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

By

12/7/18, 11:08 AM CET

Updated 12/7/18, 11:34 AM CET

Former UKIP leader Paul Nuttall announced he was quitting the party today, blaming the current leadership’s “catastrophic” association with far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

“I am resigning because the party is being taken in a direction which I believe is harmful to Brexit,” Nuttall, who is a member of European Parliament, said in a statement. “The association with Tommy Robinson will simply appall many moderate Brexit voters and inevitably be detrimental to the cause.”

He is the second former UKIP chief to quit the party in a week, after Nigel Farage resigned for the same reason.

Current UKIP leader Gerard Batten appointed Robinson — real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon — as an adviser on rape gangs and prison reform. Batten on Monday survived a vote of no confidence in his leadership held by the party’s National Executive Committee.

The former leader of the extreme-right English Defence League, Robinson was jailed for 13 months in May for contempt of court, though his conviction was later quashed because of procedural concerns. He has also served prison terms for mortgage fraud and a passport offense.

“Putting Tommy Robinson front and center, whilst Brexit is in the process of being betrayed is, in my view, a catastrophic error,” Nuttall said in his statement. “To conflate Brexit and Robinson at this crucial moment is to put the Euroskeptic cause in danger and I cannot and will not be party to that.”

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