UKIP's Sandwell branch quit en masse over 'poor leadership'
UKIP’s Sandwell branch has resigned en masse after accusing the party’s leadership of failing to address issues affecting the borough.
In a letter to UKIP leader Henry Bolton, the six-strong committee said they were quitting the party citing disillusionment over the direction in which it was heading.
They include chairman Darryl Magher, who was the party’s candidate for Warley in this year’s general election, and Pete Durnell, who stood for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.
Others include treasurer Steve Latham, a candidate for West Bromwich East in 2015, who was banned from standing again after he claimed there was ‘an evil cult of Islam’.
The resignation letter said: “It is clear that UKIP can no longer provide the policies, resources and the energy to tackle many matters within our own area of Sandwell.”
Mr Magher, who supported defeated anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters in this year’s UKIP leadership election, said he was unhappy with the party at a national level.
"This has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time, certainly from before the leadership" he said.
"The communication from the party at national level to the grassroots has been been awful. We thought things might change when Henry Bolton was elected, but things have just continued in the same vein.
"The NEC has far too much power and the party is being run by the same people, but with different titles.
"Henry Bolton may be a nice guy but he is certainly not inspirational enough as a leader.
"Anne Marie Waters was the opportunity for fresh hope but as a party we did not take it."
Mr Magher said UKIP had failed to address many of the key issues affecting people in Sandwell.
He said they included child abuse, rape gangs, and female genital mutilation.
"There is no emphasis being placed on the Islam issue,which is ridiculous when you consider that we are dealing with vulnerable children," he added.
"I'm afraid it is an example of how UKIP has become a watered down version of what it used to be.
"The party has become more centrist and doesn't want to ask the awkward questions any more.
"It is not the UKIP I joined and the UKIP I have fought for."
Mr Magher said he has no plans to 'take a backseat' from politics.