UKIP's ruling body, the National Executive Committee (NEC), will discuss a proposal, on Sunday 18th November, for a party wide ballot on whether the activist Tommy Robinson, can be allowed in.
In an email to members Mr Batten said Mr Robinson would be an "asset to the party".
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UKIP Leader Gerard Batten has written the following message to party members:
Tommy Robinson - Your Party, Your Decision
As you will know, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, commonly known as Tommy Robinson, has expressed his wish to join UKIP.
It is my personal view that we should allow him to join. This is also the view of Lord Pearson, UKIP Member of the House of Lords, and many other Party members.
UKIP has provisions in our Constitution which state that former members of certain proscribed parties and organisations are excluded from membership. The proscribed list currently includes the BNP, the National Front, and the English Defence League (EDL). Tommy Robinson was briefly a member of the BNP and was the founder of the EDL.
He explains his brief membership of the BNP as an uninformed youthful mistake. He further explains that the EDL, which he founded, was not a racist or far-right organisation under his leadership. He left it when it was infiltrated by elements he could not control.
The UKIP Constitution also has a provision (4.4.1) that allows the rule to be set aside in individual cases in “exceptional circumstances”, subject to the decision of the Chairman and the National Executive Committee.
At the next NEC meeting on Sunday 18th November, I intend to propose the following motion:
“There should be a ballot of the UKIP members asking if they approve, Yes, or No, of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson) being allowed to join UKIP. This ballot should take place at the earliest opportunity, e.g. in the next edition of Independence Magazine.
“If a majority of Party members vote in favour of the proposition, then the Chairman and NEC will consider his application at the NEC meeting following the result of the ballot. They will then make the decision whether to waive the relevant rule or not, based on a majority vote of the NEC.”
Let me say without reservation that I do NOT wish to remove the provision against former members of proscribed parties being allowed to join UKIP. I want to keep this blanket ban in place as it protects us from wholesale infiltration by unwanted elements.
The reason that Lord Pearson and I, along with many others in the Party wish to waive the rule in Tommy Robinson’s favour is that we consider his case exceptional and unique. Lord Pearson and I believe that he would be an asset to the Party. He is a courageous campaigner on behalf of the victims of industrialised sexual slavery in the UK, and it is not an exaggeration to say that he has been persecuted by the state for the stand he has taken on certain issues.
UKIP now has the possibility to transform into a mass movement, representing ordinary people. To do that we have to make some bold and sometimes difficult decisions.
Whichever way the members vote I will abide by their democratic decision. This is YOUR Party, and you must make this decision; but, in my view, this is an issue that I think needs to be settled soon, one way or another.
I will inform you of the outcome of the motion following next Sunday’s NEC meeting.
Gerard Batten MEP