Ukip’s Northern Ireland leader: Tail-end Charlie wannabes harming party

David McNarry UKIP
David McNarry UKIP

Ukip’s leader in Northern Ireland has endorsed a senior Ukip MEP’s thunderous attack on some of the aides to Nigel Farage, describing them as “tail-end Charlie wannabe wonder kids”.

David McNarry, Ukip’s only representative in a devolved legislature, last night backed up the criticisms of MEP Patrick O’Flynn, whose devastating verbal assault on some of those around the leadership yesterday led to two departures from Mr Farage’s entourage.

Mr O’Flynn denied he was launching a “coup” against Mr Farage but hit out at “poisonous individuals” in the leader’s inner circle and said that Mr Farage had become a “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” man whose behaviour risked the party looking like an “absolutist monarchy”. In an interview with the News Letter, Mr McNarry said that it was a “serious” issue for the party but made clear that he had supported Mr Farage’s decision to remain as Ukip leader.

Speaking of Mr Farage — who Mr O’Flynn described yesterday as having become “thin-skinned” — Mr McNarry said: “He is thin-skinned, particularly when it comes to his family, but he certainly wouldn’t be rolling over and lying down [to others in the party].”

The former Ulster Unionist said that his advice to Mr Farage was to take a month off on holiday as he was “physically exhausted”.

The former Ulster Unionist said that his advice to Mr Farage was to take a month off on holiday as he was “physically exhausted”.

He added: “When [as First Minister] David Trimble appointed aides, of which I was fortunate enough to be one, some people let it go to their head and they behaved as if they had power when they didn’t.

“I’m afraid that has happened with some people within Ukip and we now see the result of that.”

Mr McNarry added that during the election campaign — in which Ukip performed well in Northern Ireland — he had “many’s a run-in with some of these tail-end Charlie wannabe wonder kids” and said that “some people spoke out of turn as if they were speaking for Nigel”.

He added: “If there is a problem, it is that we probably gave some people an idea in their heads that they were bigger than they thought they were. You can’t have the people that you pay disrupting the people that pay them.”

Mr McNarry said that problems such as those now facing Ukip “invariably happen in parties”.

“I’ve seen it before...people need to settle down, realise the responsibility they have, understand the mantle of leadership is not easy and get back to working together for the Ukip cause.

“I’m pretty sure that will happen. Nigel Farage, I know from talking to him, has been under considerable strain with his back illness.

“He pushed himself too far, he allowed some people to perhaps go too far in his name and that upset some other people.”

Stuart Wheeler, a former party treasurer who donated almost £100,000 to help fund Ukip’s general election campaign, said that Mr Farage should step down as leader.

But Mr McNarry said: “The support that Farage has as a leader and a personality inside Ukip is untouchable.

“I know Stuart Wheeler and respect him as a benefactor. But he knows nothing about politics and [of his comments] so what, basically.”

Pointing to the post-election problems in Labour and the Lib Dems — and predicting future trouble for the Conservatives — he said: “This is really just typical after election reflections. I respect what Patrick O’Flynn has said.

“I doubt very much if he would have said what he said without expecting something to happen.

“What I like about Ukip is that you can have an opinion and you can voice it and there’s no behind closed doors nonsense.

“If you have something to say, say it and let’s deal with it. I think that’s basically what’s going to happen.”

Ukip’s one MP, Douglas Carswell, is in dispute with the party leadership which wants to claim the maximum money available from Westminster to fund its operations but he has said that public money should not be drawn down simply because it is available and he does not intend to use the maximum amount of more than £600,000.

Mr McNarry said: “Instead of taking £680,000, he’s going to take half of it. I don’t know what the fuss was about. If you’re entitled to something and the money’s not going to be used for anything else, you may as well use it.”

He said that he had spoken to Mr Farage in recent days and that he had “talked of the emotional meeting there was at the Ukip executive when he accepted the wish that he didn’t resign”.

Prior to that meeting, Mr McNarry said that he had been contacted by Ukip MEP David Coburn who urged him to “talk some sense into him [Mr Farage]” about resigning as leader.

Mr McNarry said that he had signed a letter urging the leader not to resign.

Pressure on Farage as major donor calls on him to go

Nigel Farage’s leadership of Ukip is under intense pressure after a major donor backed demands for him to quit.

Spread betting tycoon Stuart Wheeler’s call for Mr Farage to stand down came after the party’s election campaign director Patrick O’Flynn claimed the leader was turning the party into a “personality cult” and a senior Ukip source suggested he should “take a break”.

Ukip MEP Mr O’Flynn denied he was launching a “coup” against Mr Farage but hit out at “poisonous individuals” in the leader’s inner circle who he claimed wanted to push the party into a “hard-right, ultra-aggressive American Tea Party” approach.

Party secretary Matthew Richardson, one of the aides reported to be the target of Mr O’Flynn’s attack – although not named by the MEP – has offered his resignation, according to Ukip sources.

The divisions within Ukip have been exposed after Mr Farage was widely mocked for quitting as leader after failing to win the South Thanet seat in the general election, only to be reinstated three days later after the party’s national executive committee (NEC) rejected his resignation.

Mr Wheeler, a former party treasurer who donated almost £100,000 to help fund Ukip’s general election campaign, told BBC Radio 5 Live that Mr Farage should go.

He said: “I would like him to step down, at least for the moment.

“And if he wants to put himself up in an election, then he has every right to do so, though I personally would prefer somebody else now.”

With the prospect of an in/out referendum on Europe, Mr Wheeler said “the type of campaign that’s now needed has to be slightly less aggressive and more towards winning over people in the centre”.