Since this Blog last reported on the subject, a deafening silence has continued to pervades UKIP’s plans for the Hartlepool by-election. But, behind the scenes, it appears, a bitter battle is being played out, the prize being the leadership of the party.
In the earlier Blog, it was suggested that Kilroy-Silk might not stand, and we have since been able to confirm that there has been a concerted campaign in the upper reaches of the party to dissuade him from so doing.
It seems that Kilroy-Silk has made no secret to party members of his ambition to lead the party and the current leadership has taken fright. Rightly, they fear that his winning the by-election would make him unstoppable.
So while Kilroy considers his next move, from his holiday home in Spain, the party leadership have been making moves to prevent him from standing. Without any public declaration, they have opened a list for applicants for the party’s candidature, which they plan to close on Sunday, after which further “applicants” will be rejected.
Needless to say, Kilroy-Silk has not been officially told of the existence of this list, and he has not been asked to submit an application.
Meanwhile, party officials are scouring the country, looking for an alternative candidate, but have been unable to find anyone of even a moderately high profile to stand. They are now prepared to accept a nonentity, and even parachute in one of the party faithful, to ensure that Kilroy is blocked.
Party leaders, therefore, seem prepared deliberately to throw the Hartlepool by-election, to ensure that their own positions are not challenged by a man whom even local Labour party workers believe can win the seat.