Ukip chief Gerard Batten survives no confidence vote on his leadership
Ukip boss Gerard Batten has survived an attempt to oust him after the party’s national executive voted “overwhelmingly” against a motion of no confidence in his leadership.
The MEP has presided over a series of top figures resigning over accusations that he was damaging both Ukip and the Brexit cause by taking the party further to the right.
Former leader Nigel Farage encouraged a no confidence vote in Mr Batten over his decision to appoint Tommy Robinson as a personal adviser and threatened to walk from Ukip were he to stay on.
Senior colleagues Patrick O’Flynn and Louise Bours have quit in recent weeks, with the former echoing Mr Farage by slamming the leader’s “fixation” with Mr Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League.
However an urgent meeting of the national executive on Sunday saw Mr Batten avoid attempts to remove him.
Following the vote on the leader's future a party spokesperson said however that Ukip “does not endorse the appointment of Tommy Robinson in any advisory role”.
It added: “He is not a Ukip member and through his associations he is barred from joining Ukip.”
Mr Batten has consistently defended his decision to give Mr Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a role advising him on rape gangs and prison reform.
“He's a good person to have on side, a lot of people respect his stand on things and his courage,” he said.
The appointment came after Ukip’s NEC voted to put off a vote to members on whether the controversial activist could join, given his past membership of the EDL.