UKIP drops controversial Clacton candidate

David Lawrence - 10 05 17

UKIP candidate Jeff Bray has quit the party after he was dropped in favoured of National Executive Committee (NEC) member Paul Oakley, who was “parachuted in” to contest the Clacton seat.

The incident is the latest to befall the benighted Clacton constituency, previously occupied by UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell, who left the party in March.

Bray was selected by local UKIP members to contest the seat, a key target area for the party. However, the UKIP leadership has clearly thought better than fielding the Clacton man, whose reputation is much tarnished after a number of wildly anti-Muslim social media posts.

The choice to jettison Bray for Oakley, a barrister, may also have been informed by the fact that Bray received just 22.1% of the vote when standing in the Tendring Rural East ward of Essex in the recent local elections. A victory in the 8 June snap election would offer a glimmer of hope to a party left floundering after calamitous local election results. 

The Daily Gazette has reported that local party members, and Bray, are outraged at the decision. Bray told the local paper that he was “very angry at the way I have been treated… It’s little wonder UKIP are so low in the polls – appalling treatment, appalling communication.”

Confusion in Clacton

Confusion and squabbling has marred UKIP in Clacton ever since the 2015 General Election, when Douglas Carswell won the seat to become UKIP’s only MP. However, the moderate Carswell soon fell out with the increasingly xenophobic former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

Carswell defected to the Conservatives in March this year after a series of extraordinary public spats with Farage and influential former UKIP donor Arron Banks.

Multimillionaire Banks, who admitted he knew “absolutely nothing about Clacton at all”, declared he would challenge Carswell for the Clacton seat in the 2017 snap election. However he promptly abandoned his campaign when “nasty little career politician” Carswell announced he would not be standing for re-election. Banks then put his considerable weight behind Bray, calling him a “hard working activist”.

Unsurprisingly, Banks was critical of the decision to drop Bray, who resigned from the party shortly after. Oakley now faces the challenge of winning over the Clacton public after months of bad PR in the constituency.


Despite pressure from HOPE not hate to deselect leading anti-Muslim activist Anne Marie Waters, UKIP continues to embrace a radically anti-Muslim platform, and people with racist and extreme anti-Muslim views remain at the heart of UKIP’s ruling body.

UKIP NEC member Anish Patel wrote in a now-deleted tweet that Oakley himself had voted to keep the “counter-jihad activist” Waters as a UKIP parliamentary candidate.

HOPE not hate will continue to challenge UKIP’s divisive tactics in the coming weeks.


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