Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dr Edmond's suspension from UKIP NEC

UKIP NEC member Dr Eric Edmonds has had charges brought against him by his own NEC. The 'charge sheet' is shown below. (It was taken from another blog -

Our only comment is that the majority of this rather lengthy dossier is childish (spit spat) in the extreme. Further, it does not appear that Dr Edmond has had the opportunity to defend himself properly. We are just thankful that Dr Edmond has not committed a serious crime, otherwise we would have had to apply for more webspace to print the charge sheet!!!

Whilst not lawyers ourselves, there is one possible saving grace for Dr Edmond - it does appear to enable him to avoid any financial liability that NEC members may have in view of the Party finances during the term of his 'suspension'.



Presented on request of the NEC for discussion at theNovember NEC meeting


The NEC has the power under the Party Constitution to expel or suspend a member of the NEC for 'unbecoming conduct' under Articles 7.18.4. The intention of this clause is to exclude any NEC member who behaves in such a way as consistently to disrupt the NEC and prevent it from conducting its business in a proper, efficient and orderly manner. This ongoing conduct thereby proves him or herself to be unfit to continue as an NEC member.

By offering Dr Edmond the opportunity to speak at the last NEC and by deferring discussion of the matter to a future NEC, and by providing a copy of this paper in advance to Dr Edmond, the NEC has sought to act reasonably and fairly under the Constitution.

The motion agreed at the 8th September NEC was: "That in view of the indication by Dr Edmond that he wished to have the opportunity to prepare to meet any charges against him, and in view of representations by various NEC members that they wish to have the opportunity of putting forward their own complaints against Dr Edmond, David Campbell Bannerman was invited to prepare a submission for disciplinary action against Dr Edmond under clause 7.18 of the constitution to be heard at the next NEC meeting and with proper notice of at least 7 days being given to Dr Edmond of the content of that submission.”

1. The Charge of ‘Unbecoming Conduct’ Against Dr Eric Edmond, with supporting evidence.The majority view of the NEC is that Dr Eric Edmond has been a consistently disruptive influence on the NEC since he was elected, and that his behaviour needs to improve markedly if he is able to continue as an NEC member. The facts show a clear pattern of disruptive and abusive behaviour, and of contempt for the NEC and its members. This is clear from the evidence cited below:

1.1 Threats to go outside the NEC, and support for police actionDr Edmond has made serious threats against the NEC. For example, he said inan e mail of 25th July "If you persist in this I will have to seek remedies outside the NEC."Dr Edmond supported John West's recurring attacks on UKIP, including seeming to encourage unjustified attempts to instigate police action against the party. In his e mail of 13th August he says to John West and John Whittaker "I urge him to do so as quickly as possible so the police can get on with their investigation as quickly as possible".

1.2 Aggressive personal behaviourEven at his first NEC, on 7th April, Dr Edmond engaged in an aggressive attack on the Leader and his style of leadership. He again attacked Nigel Farage at the 14th July NEC regarding Nigel's use of the Political Committee for political decisions (despite this being made clear as its purpose in the Constitution, and owing to a need to make quick political decisions). Mr Farage explained forcefully that the reason was a lack of trust in the NEC owing to past leaks.

Dr Edmond also engaged in attacks also on Douglas Denny at 14th July NEC, calling him an "idiot", when Mr Denny objected to Edmond's slanderous remarks against Christopher Gill (see below).

In an e mail to Douglas Denny of 2nd September, Edmond rudely says. "you are raving again." This was in response to Mr Denny making reasonable comments which ended in the observation: "All I have seen so far, is a constant tirade [by Dr Edmond] against the "leadership" of UKIP and what appears to be deliberate disruption and promotion of discord in the NEC. What is your agenda ? It does not appear to me to be what you told the membership." and in an e mail of 4th September from Edmond, "your reply is rubbish". As Lisa Duffy made clear in her e mail of 28th September: "The only angry raised voice has been Dr Edmond".

1.3 Bringing the Party into disrepute, by writing to a body UKIP isengaged in a legal dispute with, to make wild and damaging accusations

Dr Edmond has written to the Electoral Commission in the middle of a legal case against the party by that same organisation.

He wrote to Mr Franks of the Electoral Commission on 10th September saying: "I gather you are the investigating officer in charge of investigating alleged financial improprieties at UKIP with a case currently under judicial review. I was expelled from UKIP NEC on Monday. I am deeply concerned about my financial liabilities as while on the NEC party officials stone walled over answering questions on financial matters and in one case gave a completely untruthful answer.

“I copy to you my letter to the residual NEC as record of the date and content of my request for financial information as UKIP leaders usually ignore awkward but important questions. I am not sure who legally is currently chairman of UKIP Whittaker or Nuttall as the Monday meeting was improperly convened but Whittaker seemed to chairing the meeting."

He also claimed in his e mail of 10th September "I will of course also be seeking guidance from the Electoral Commission as to the propriety of all financial and other transactions made during my term of office".

It is difficult to accept that Dr Edmond has the interests of the party at stake when he acts this way. He was seeking to do major damage to the cause of UKIP. This alone is enough for a complaint to the disciplinary committee.

1.4 Slanderous Comments made against Christopher Gill at the NEC meeting of 14th July 2008

At the 14th July meeting, Eric Edmond challenged the suitability of Christopher Gill to act as Returning Officer, given that as a Tory MP "he did not even make it as a PUSy (Parliamentary Under Secretary)", the lowest grade of Minister. He did this despite the fact that Christopher Gill was not present at the meeting, and therefore not able to defend himself.

Nigel Farage said that this remark was not nice, and below the belt, as many MPs are not just in Parliament for Ministerial positions and serve their constituencies well.

Eric retorted that no, "it is due to a lack of talent".

David Campbell Bannerman commented that this remark was slanderous, and urged Dr Edmond to withdraw it. He refused to do so. Douglas Denny said it was actionable.

At the subsequent NEC of 8th September, Mr Campbell Bannerman inquired whether Dr Edmond had apologised subsequently to Christopher Gill, and Christopher confirmed no such apology had been received.

At that NEC, Dr Edmond claimed that he had not made the remarks, but many members of the NEC commented that he was wrong, and that they had a clear recollection that these remarks were made, as stated.

Whilst fair criticism is of course acceptable, this kind of unpleasant and libellous abuse in front of Christopher Gill's peer group, and without him present to defend himself, is not acceptable conduct by an NEC member.

1.5 Breaches of NEC confidentialityDr Edmond has broken strict NEC confidentiality rules.

For example, in an e mail of 13th August to Robin Page, Dr Edmond reported: "I have expressed mydis-satisfaction with this to our leader but he replied the NEC leaked so much he could only have people he could trust on his Political Committee." This was a discussion at an NEC meeting and was confidential to that meeting. NEC rules clearly state that breach of confidentiality can lead to instant dismissal fromthe NEC.

Yet Dr Edmond also displays rather a contempt for confidentiality. In his e mail of 30th September he dismisses breaches of NEC confidentiality as "unproven" and to raise such concerns as an "allegation that smears us all". This is despite consistent evidence of leaks - as Rachel Oxley states in her e mail of 30th September, "It really is stating the obvious to say the e mail correspondence of the NEC is being passed on as we see our comments reproduced in part or in full in the e mail circulation list of Greg Lance Watkins and on Anthony Butcher's forum."

1.6 Support for a disruptive attempt by John West to sit on the NEC

Eric Edmond encouraged John West to believe he had a right to sit onthe NEC, even though there is no 'ladder' system in operation for the NEC(leading to the next highest voted candidate taking a free place) and there was no vacancy, as confirmed by an NEC discussion and vote on 8th September. As a result John West was sitting in at the NEC meeting on 8th September and had subsequently to be asked to leave, as he had no right to be there.

Dr Edmond at the NEC denied he had encouraged West to attend, yet he supported his case at the NEC of 8th September and in his e mail of 30th August, he said: "UKIP Constitution requires 12 elected members. There are currently only 11. John West, the 5th placed person in the last NEC election therefore should be on the NEC. Can you please send him an invite to this effect ?" and in his email of 31st August he argued: "John West has a democratic mandate to fill our vacant NEC slot.. but he is democratically entitled to sit on the NEC."

This was done without the courtesy of checking the rules with the Party Secretary nor discussing the matter with the Party Chairman, and was done in an aggressive manner. This is the comment made to a former Party Secretary Douglas Denny in e mail of 1st September: "If you persist in trying to thwart the democratic process you make us the same as the EU" and another of same date where he says "it is silly for you to try and deny democratic process for Mr West and invoke it for your own ends."

Latterly, he has compounded his abusive approach by calling in an email of 20th. September for the Party Leader to be barred from the NEC owing to an OLAF inquiry, the Deputy Leader to resign, for John West to take his place, and with an attack on the Treasurer and MEP Candidate Marta Andreasen.

1.7 A recurrent attempt to undermine faith in the MEP selection process

Eric Edmond is entitled to his views and to criticise the conduct of Party business or the MEP selection process as an NEC member. However, his conduct goes way beyond a legitimate holding to account.

Eric Edmond has supported every single complainant regarding MEP selection in his e mails with enthusiasm - John West, Robin Page, Lynnda Robson, Gerard Batten, Victor Webb, Chris Hudson, Rollo Reid.

He makes grossly exaggerated claims in an e mail of 19th August that "This is the latest in a succession of allegations of improprieties in the MEP election process. We have a situation where rules and due process are being ignored at all levels of the party, emails from NEC members to those involved in running the election are not replied to, legal actions are in progress and someone who were told had resigned for an unforgivable breach of confidence is now allegedly back performing the same functions but with a murky contractual relationship with UKIP. A general state of anarchy prevails and the leadership produce no evidence to the NEC to support their actions. I support your call for to scrap the election... (and for) an emergency NEC." The vast majority of regions and candidates have been satisfied with the process, even where their ambitions have been sadly disappointed, and yet Dr Edmond seeks to stop, destroy and invalidate the entire process.

Factually, Edmond ignored the guidance regarding closing dates and did not bother to confirm this with the party before stirring the issue up outside the NEC.

In an e mail of 15th August he claims "Messrs Page & West seem to have a strong prima facie case that there were not given fair treatment in our MEP selection process and I request this be put on the NEC agenda for discussion at our Sept meeting. Page's case seems to be strong as UKIP did extend the closing date for nominations in Wales and possibly other regions as well. West's case is also strong and potentially far more damaging as it has elements of malicious intent." Never did he acknowledge that West had clearly libelled Jeffrey Titford MEP, Stuart Gulleford and the Deputy Leader in advance of his YouTube posting (and which was not at all acceptable), nor that West had even gone to the police to make these false accusations.

Even after notice of disciplinary action was given, Dr Edmond was still unquestionably supporting Mr West. In an e mail of 28th September, Edmond says, "John West has not used any foul language and addressed the NEC in mildand moderate language." John West never "addressed" the NEC, he was merely asked why he was attending the meeting, and then asked to leave whilst this was discussed. Dr Edmond further claimed in his e mail of 29th September that a firm but polite response from Douglas Denny to continued harassment by email by West was "offensive and threatening".

This support is despite the fact that West’s malicious charges to the Essex police have been formally dismissed as having no substance whatsoever.

Then Edmond enthusiastically embraces Victor Webb's complaints. In a 20th September e mail about Victor Webb he proclaims "He seems to me to have a prima facie case for a complaint", asking the Chairman to have Mr Webb at the NEC in person, as he did with John West.

An e mail of 30th July attacks the South West process, stating that "Rollo Reid, the chairman of the nearby Christchurch branch and one of our best activists was not selected as an MEP candidate whilst Julie Harrison, Graeme Booth's niece who had only been in the party one week according to the SWCC figures was selected ! I pointed out to the SWCC at which 3 members of the selection committee were present how demoralising this decision would be for our activists. Was Mr Gill party to this decision ?".

As early as 11th June Dr Edmond was declaring in an e mail that "I heard a rumour that the £250 MEP nomination fee had been waived for some candidates. As a candidate myself I have an obvious interest. Do you know if there is any truth in this rumour?"

And at the NEC meeting on 9th June, Edmond supported the issue of the Fenland branch and Len Baynes, who had attacked the Regional Organiser for Eastern, Peter Reeve, and which they had unfairly tried to deselect as a Prospective Parliamentary Candidate.

As for the selection process, Dr Edmond raised a motion at the NEC of 14th July for the South West demanding the region has its own, independent voting system using the Electoral Reform Society, claiming people have "a lack of faith in the integrity in voting on MEP candidates". This was despite the fact no other region has requested a different voting process, and that the Returning Officer Piers Merchant is not only known to be very fair but is from the South West himself. Edmond also boasted of disrespect for the Deputy Leader from some in the South West. The motion was defeated.

Dr Edmond did attend the MEP vote count at Head Office in person and sought to test the voting system there, only to find that the device he used proved the process was robust and the results exactly the same as his.

1.8 Inconsistent and inaccurate public statements

Dr. Edmond has made a number of inaccurate statements, within the NEC and outside of it. As cited above, he insisted he did not make slanderous statements about Christopher Gill, when this was raised at the 8th September meeting, even though this was the clear recollection of the majority of NEC members.

Even after the disciplinary warning Dr Edmond has continued to make a series of inaccurate statements as to the facts whilst regularly claiming "I just tell the truth" (in his e mail of 28th September). His version of events once again is at complete odds with the recollection of the majority of the NEC, which he consistently denies. In his email of 28th September, for example, he says:"Your statements... about what happened at the 8th Sept NEC are highly misleading and distort the truth".

Dr Edmond claimed at the 8th September NEC itself that it "was not a properly constituted meeting of the NEC" and that the new Chairman was not authorised by the NEC, even though the Party Leader had explained he had called and had agreement from a required number of NEC members before the Party Conference announcement.

Dr Edmond has also claimed several times, including to outside audiences, that he was "illegally expelled" from the NEC when he had not been. But in spite of this, in his e mails of 20 September he asks to be placed on the NEC agenda 5 items, which he is only entitled to do as an NEC member, and asking for NEC seconders.

This inconsistent position is amplified in his e mail of 28th September, where he again claims that "there is no doubt in my mind, to Delroy Young or the listeners outside that I was expelled from the NEC."

Lisa Duffy clearly records the accurate and majority view of the events in her e mail of 11th September, "Once you were back in the room John Whittaker then informed you of the motion put forward and asked you if you would like to address the meeting in response. Dr Edmond I clearly recall that you said No John I would not, I am going to leave the meeting and prepare my defence and speak to my legal team in Freshfields. At NO point were you expelled or suspended from the NEC. At this present time you remain an elected member of the NEC and your response will be heard at the next NEC meeting."

Douglas Denny recalls in his e mail of 10th September "I remember well your voluntary leaving of the NEC meeting - which I highlighted to the members of the meeting when it occurred. You were in a position to engage in the proceedings, which you refused. Despite your refusal, you are being given further reasonable time and dispensation to engage in this issue I understand."

Rachel Oxley made similar observations in an e mail of 12th September:

“The circumstance of Dr Edmonds' leaving the NEC meeting on Monday 8th September are exactly as described by Lisa Duffy, Christopher Gill and Doug Denny. It was his express wish to leave in order to obtain legal advice before giving the NEC his response... Doug Denny remarked that Dr Edmonds had left the meeting of his own volition as he felt that it should be noted. The Forum frequented by some UKIP members and former members contains a rather different version- in which the NEC behaved disgracefully in expelling him etc."

She added further comments in an 22 September e mail: "It is interesting, isn't it, that Dr Edmonds should suggest agenda items and propose motions for our next meeting despite his having personally informed at least one British Democracy Poster (Sponplague) that he is no longer on the NEC, following his alleged 'expulsion'. He appears to be wanting to have his cake and eat it too, in gaining the sympathy & kudos that his alleged shoddy treatment by the NEC will bring, whilst still wishing to dominate the agenda.

"This is in contrast to claiming he was "asked to leave the NEC by Chairman John Whittaker" in an e mail of 20th September, and in a 10th September e mail declaiming "my outrageous, unjustified and illegal expulsion from the NEC".

1.9 Unreasonable demands for unrelated information

In his e mail of 10th September, Dr Edmond demands a range of documents, said to be for his legal defence as to his proposed expulsion, but which have nothing to do with the charge of 'unbecoming conduct'. They include details of the Party's financial transactions April to September 2008, issues around Alan Bown's court case constituting a further donation, and financial donations from the Ramsgate Call Centre for 2007/08. These demands he then copies to the Electoral Commission, to cause further trouble.

Proposed Motion to the NEC

In conclusion, in light of this evidence of unbecoming conduct by Dr Eric Edmond as an NEC member, the following motion is put to the next NEC on 3rd November 2008:


‘That in the light of Dr Eric Edmond’s unbecoming conduct as an NEC member, both during NEC meetings and through relevant e mails and other communications, that under Article 7.18.4 of the UKIP Constitution, Eric Edmond be suspended immediately as a member of the NEC, and remain suspended for the next three NEC meetings post the 3rd November NEC meeting. After that suspension period, Dr Edmond will be allowed to reapply to attend future NEC meetings, but will only be accepted back after a majority decision of the NEC and by Dr Edmond providing a suitable written undertaking to behave in a responsible and dignified manner during NEC meetings and through his other UKIP activities. Any breach of that undertaking would lead to the automatic and immediate resumption of his suspension from the NEC, through a further motion.’

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