UKIP tries to take back control from its biggest donor – and gets a £200,000 bill in response

UKIP Arron Banks Nigel Farage
John Shafthauer

Arron Banks was a prominent figure in UKIP. He was one of the party’s biggest ever donors. But Banks has since been pushed out of the party. And he has consequently sent it a £200,000 bill for services he claims to have provided.

Arron Banks

Banks became a controversial figure within UKIP after the party’s leader, Paul Nuttall, failed to win the Stoke by-election. Banks said Nuttall was “quite weak”. He also said:

I am giving Paul Nuttall an ultimatum that either I become chairman and sort out Ukip by bringing in business people and professionals to make the party electable, or I am out of there.

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The party cannot continue to be run like a jumble sale.

If Nuttall doesn’t professionalise it and toss out the likes of Douglas Carswell, Suzanne Evans and the rest of the Tory cabal then the party is finished anyway.

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Banks later claimed that he was “suspended”, although UKIP insists his membership has simply lapsed. Banks was unhappy either way. And he has a history of taking revenge against people who have wronged him. This was clear when he first publicly donated £100,000 to UKIP. An amount which he spitefully upped to £1m after the Conservative William Hague described Banks as “somebody we haven’t heard of”; Banks having been a minor Conservative donor before that.

The bill

Banks has now told UKIP:

why on Earth am I going to donate the service for free? I don’t think so. So – yes – there is a bill in the post for the thick end of £200,000.

This bill covers the cost of call centre and membership services that he provided. The party responded:

All the support he has given UKIP has been on that basis and not on a supplier/client one.

We don’t understand why he now claims his generous donations were something different.

UKIP’s future

UKIP losing one of its biggest backers was already a concern for the party. The fact that Banks expects money back, and is talking about setting up a rival party, is much worse.

Especially given Banks’ track record. He, after all, was once forced out of his own company. He responded by punching a colleague in the face, setting up a rival company, poaching the original company’s staff, and then costing his rivals millions in court settlements.

Which is bad for UKIP. But great for anyone enjoys seeing hard-right political parties tearing themselves in half.

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