Shanked: UKIP Friends of Palestine chairman slapped down by party leadership

Another young UKIP activist has been blocked from assuming an official position after being labelled "a considerable embarrassment" by party leaders

by The Commentator on 11 April 2013 10:52


Following reports of incidents involving Gareth Shanks, the Chairman of the Friends of Palestine in UKIP group, the youth activist has been refused a role in the party's youth wing, Young Indepdence, on the basis that he is, "A considerable embarrassment."

UKIP's National Executive Committee (NEC) ruled that although Shanks had been elected unopposed to the position of Treasurer of Young Independence, the NEC blocked the appointment citing Shanks's record of comments.

Jonathan Arnott, UKIP's youth secretary, stated that Shanks's behaviour on social media led to the decision, including Shanks stating of his own UKIP membership, "I would leave, but I can be 10000x more annoying as a member."

Shanks was known to be overtly critical of NEC member Neil Hamilton, once tweeting, "How is Neil Hamilton on the NEC anyways? He's corrupt, he shouldn't bein the Party, let alone a position of power. Another comment from Shanks read, "If Neil Hamilton gets a place on the MEP lists, I'm leaving the Party. It'll just show Farage pusheshis mates into high spots." 

Activists have pointed to an e-mail between YI Chairman Sean Howlett and Neil Hamilton wherein Howlett lets Hamilton know about Shanks's views, to which Hamilton responds, "Many thanks Sean, I wil deal with him."

Shanks's rejection from the position comes months after activist Olly Neville was excluded from the party for defying party policy. The event was called "Ollyshambles" by party activists.

Shanks told The Commentator: "I was removed from my position as treasurer even after winning the election uncontested, the reasons behind which are to do with my personal dislike for a NEC member and not for the poor reasons given by the NEC.

"I can't help but feel that we've spent so long in the European parliament that we're starting to copy how they do democracy. I don't want to leave the party, but as we saw with OllyShambles, the UKIP smear machine is in full flow and I've even had two party officials accuse me of lying about serving in the military, so i'm finding it difficult to see the point in staying on anymore."

Messages of support trickled in on the #StandWithShanks hashtag on Twitter, however many also supported the NEC decision, tweeting, "Well done, UKIP, well done." Others pointed to the fact that another NEC member had remarked that "gays aren't normal" and had not been disciplined for it. One tweeter warned, "UKIP are become less Libertarian by the day. [sic]" 

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