EXCL Ukip bosses quit party over 'Nazi' direction under Gerard Batten
Two members of the Ukip ruling body have quit the party and accused leader Gerard Batten of turning it into a "Nazi" organisation, PoliticsHome can reveal.
MEP Julia Reid and former parliamentary candidate Michael McGough quit Ukip's National Executive Committee last week in despair at the tie-up with far-right activist Tommy Robinson.
Mr McGough said Ukip had become a "national socialist, authoritarian party" run by "fundamental Christians, ex-convicts and Middle East interests".
Meanwhile, a Ukip peer has decided to ditch the party banner and sit as a non-affiliated Lord - leaving just two Ukip members in the Upper Chamber.
Mr Batten has been hit by a wave of resignations in recent weeks by senior figures angry at his embrace of anti-Islam activist and ex-BNP member Mr Robinson - real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon.
Former leader Nigel Farage, Scottish leader David Coburn and a string of MEPs are among those who have fled over concerns Mr Batten is obsessed with the controversial activist and the Muslim faith.
Mr McGough confirmed to PoliticsHome on Sunday: “I left Ukip on Wednesday. It is now toxic and cannot be saved.
“Gerard Batten has turned it into a national socialist, authoritarian party, a party within a party run not by the NEC but by a coterie of fundamental Christians, ex convicts and Middle East interests.”
Dr Reid said in a resignation letter last week: “At a time when Ukip should be campaigning even harder for the Brexit that we have worked so hard to achieve, our party seems to have lost its way.
"Instead of focussing on the betrayal of Brexit, Ukip’s leader has spoken out on another issue.
“For months I have been uncomfortable with the party’s current direction and the appointment of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson) is unhappily the final straw.”
PoliticsHome can also reveal that Lord Willoughby de Broke has renounced his Ukip membership and will sit as an independent in the Upper Chamber. The peer refused to comment when contacted by this website.
Mr McGough and Ms Reid were two of three people to back a no-confidence vote in Mr Batten at a Ukip NEC meeting earlier this month - but the motion was defeated.
The vote was called after it emerged that Mr Batten had appointed Mr Robinson - a former EDL founder - as a political advisor on grooming gangs and prisons.
'UKIP CALVARY HAS ARRIVED'
Mr Robinson appeared alongside Mr Batten at a pro-Brexit march in central London yesterday. He heaped praise on the party leader, saying "no other politician will talk about Islam".
The controversial right-wing firebrand tried to sign up for Ukip membership live on stage - despite being banned - but his payment was declined.
He quipped: "Gerard that is something you are going to have to sort out, mate."
Mr Robinson also hinted that he would stand to be a Ukip MP, and said: "To all the people in Ukip who are worried - don't worry because the calvary has arrived."
Mr Batten failed to respond when contacted by PoliticsHome. Last week he said Mr Robinson was helping the party campaign on Brexit and insisted: "I am not obsessed with Islam."