A South Yorkshire branch of Ukip is in 'disarray' after its senior members resigned in protest at national leader Paul Nuttall's leadership.
The Rotherham branch's chairman, vice-chairman, secretary and treasurer resigned this week, citing dissatisfaction with Ukip’s direction and the performance of Nuttall.
The town currently has 13 Ukip councillors and the party came second to Labour in each of the three local Parliamentary constituencies at the 2015 general election, but there are now question marks over whether Ukip will fight all three seats on June 8.
Announcing his resignation, branch chairman and former Rotherham Ukip leader Caven Vines said the party was in “disarray”.
Mr Vines, a former councillor, said: “Over the past year various events in Ukip both nationally and locally have caused me to look at the way Ukip have performed.
“Ukip nationally in my view are presently a party of lions led by sheep with no clear leadership or direction, with a leader jumping around the country like a ‘frog on a lily pad’ looking for a place to settle – like the Liverpool saying goes ‘Giz a job’.”
Mr Nuttall announced he would fight the Boston and Skegness seat last week after speculation where or whether he would stand at all.
He lost the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election in February and has previously failed to get elected in Bootle, at the last three general elections, and at a 2011 by-election for Oldham East and Saddleworth.
Mr Vines said: “He’s the wrong man for the job.
“You don’t jump around the country, standing wherever you want. He should have gone back to Stoke and put his money where his mouth is. Or he’s from Liverpool, why doesn’t he stand there?
"He’s trying to look for a safe seat and taking (campaign) money away from elsewhere. It’s self-preservation.”
Mr Vines said Mr Nuttall recently likening himself to India’s legendary father of independence, Mahatma Gandhi, “just isn’t what you expect from a leader”.
Mr Vines was also critical of the efforts of local Ukip councillors, who he said had failed to provide “any meaningful opposition and challenge to the Labour control on the council”.
The branch’s treasurer, Vines’ wife Maureen, who is also a former Ukip councillor, has resigned as has vice-chairman Steve Webster.
He said: “I am also not happy with the party’s current direction because the party is fast becoming like any other mainstream party, and the petty infighting, always in the media highlight for the wrong reasons, has caused the party to split down the middle, making it look unprofessional therefore making it unelectable to the public.”
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