Farage blasts Alan Wells over attempted UKIP candidate smear

Nigel Farage’s opening salvo to Alan Wells is, “In my whole political career I have never seen such a case” … We have the full letter.

Nigel Farage

OnTheWight has been hearing that the story that we broke earlier today – Conservatives accuse UKIP candidate of falsifying official paperwork – had been rapidly-elevated to the National level.

This has borne out to be true as the leader of the party, Nigel Farage has, this afternoon, written directly to Alan Wells.

Both barrels
Farage is true to form and doesn’t hold back in giving Alan Wells a dressing down, starting with “In my whole political career I have never seen such a case.”

The full letter is below.

Mr Alan Wells, Chairman
Isle of Wight Conservative Association
?58 The Mall,
Carisbrooke Road
Isle of Wight

16th April 2013

Dear Mr Wells

I have seen your letter of 15th April 2013 to our candidate Mr Richard Wilkins of 69 Fairmount Drive, Newport.

In my whole political career I have never seen such a case.

Mr Wilkins assures me that he went to collect signatures for his nomination and knocked on doors in the Atkinson Drive area. He submitted 14 names – more than required – with attached electoral roll numbers and the first 10 were taken. Having more than enough signatures, he had no need knowingly to submit a false signature.

If he knew the signature was false he would have to be mad to submit it when he had enough in any event. To be guilty of a corrupt practice, as you allege, requires him to know the signature was false.

He has acted in good faith and, in the circumstances, has no motive or need to falsify anything.

I can only imagine that either the lady concerned changed her mind, has genuinely forgotten the event, or someone has impersonated her. It would, one imagines, not be the first time someone has – unknown to a candidate or agent – given a false name when signing such a form.

Given the very high standard of proof required in such a case, you may wish to be cautious of what public allegations you make.

Your reaction in this affair, however, does not surprise me in the least. Theresa May’s comment about the nasty party was clearly accurate when she made it and remains so today.

Perhaps the fact that we turned down your Party’s earlier request to withdraw a candidate on the Island has prompted this action.

Yours sincerely

Nigel Farage

Tuesday, 16th April, 2013 6:04pm


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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. Robert Jones

    16.Apr.2013 6:44pm

    It has to be said – Mr Farage has a point; actually, several points. I think the backfire to which I referred in the other thread threatens to become prolonged and deafening … Mr Wells isn’t without political experience; it’s amazing to me that he’s conducted his complaint this way.

    Taking Nigel Farage’s version of events at face value, ie assuming he’s speaking in full knowledge of the facts, it’s also very hard to see WHY Alan Wells has chosen this way of dealing with the issue.

  2. The Coal Man

    16.Apr.2013 6:53pm

    @ Robert Jones and ‘backfire’
    I’m not stalking you but this man is PRICELESS
    For those who may have missed it early….

    ‘… and it may backfire badly’

    Well, Well, Wells then I would suggest that Alan stops looking at the mantle-piece when he’s poking the fire in future!
    Silly Man.

    • Robert Jones

      16.Apr.2013 7:12pm

      I don’t know Alan Wells personally – is he, perhaps, just a touch inclined to leap after a soundbite before he’s thought whose backside it might end up chewing….?

  3. Mason Watch

    16.Apr.2013 7:04pm

    I have a sneaky suspicion that Mr Turner might be quite relieved to see the back of the buffoons representing his party……. Alan Wells must be the only agent who is better saying nothing at all. Jeez, you couldn’t make up this stuff although “Private Pike” Pugh is a recognised character!

  4. Surely if there is an issue here Alan Wells should have taken it up with the Electoral Commission? Who gave him access to the original documentation anyway ? Someone in County Hall? Can anyone go in and scrutinise nomination forms? Alan Wells is obviously bored now he is not standing for re-election on Cowes Town Council, perhaps he should scrutinise some of his own Conservative candidates. Suggest he start with those in Cowes.

    • Robert Jones

      16.Apr.2013 7:22pm

      We can all check the statement of persons nominated – have to say I rarely took a lot of interest in who had assented to a nomination, but I would just quickly check the proposer and seconder. Real agents don’t go out of their way to catch each other out on technical issues: but of course if someone had told me they suspected someone’s signature had been forged, I’d have looked into it; but not by threatening my opponent: I’d have had a word, they’ve have investigated or would be able to reassure me, and in the unlikely event they couldn’t – which never happened in all of my time as an agent – I’d take it up, but confidentially, with the Deputy Returning Officer – whose job it is to investigate breaches of electoral law. That’s what Alan Wells should have done, and it’s just a pity he seems to have succumbed to the urge to share his suspicions with the world … it’s his party that’s more likely to suffer than anyone else; something I feel sure they’ll remember when considering the appointment of an Election Agent next time….

    • greenfiremouse

      17.Apr.2013 7:33pm

      Maybe Alan Wells, Chair of the Conservative Association on the Isle of Wight and Agent for all Tory candidates, would be well advised to put one of his other hats on (Chair of Governing Body, Cowes Enterprise College and Director of Cowes Pathfinder Trust) to sort out the mess he and his Council colleagues have left CEC students with…
      Ah, never mind, you can’t beat the entertainment election fever brings instead!

  5. peaceful_life

    16.Apr.2013 8:25pm

    Two neoliberalists squabbling over underhanded tactics, neither with any kind manifesto to reverse the mess that their core beliefs now leave us with.

    What’s the issue?

  6. This is all rather intriguing and whatever anyone thinks of the personalities involved, only one version is true. I am therefore rather puzzled by the statement that the candidate allegedly got 14 signatures to “Make Sure” as it were.

    The problem with that statement is that the forms are preprinted and there are only ten spaces for nomination signatures. Therefore as a candidate, you get the requisite number of signatures, (10) and submit the form. If it’s a Parish election, it’s only two signatures and the form only has spaces for two.

    I know that the Tories in the past used to get two forms filled in, each with 2 entirely lots of 10 signatures, just in case there was some sort of problem. However, they only submitted one form and kept the other “up their sleeve, just in case”, so to speak.

    It therefore doesn’t make sense to me that this candidate allegedly got 14 signatures. It can’t physically be done on the form produced by this Local Authority.

  7. steephilljack

    16.Apr.2013 9:19pm

    I think tomorrow will be a good day for the Conservatives to bury bad news.

  8. island life

    16.Apr.2013 10:11pm

    FYI the Newport North elector involved in this case was very shocked and upset when she realised that her name had been used on the nomination form. IW Council checked her signature (as she is a registered postal voter) and they did not match. If she had forgotten or changed her mind about the form, the signatures would have matched surely?
    Has anyone had a thought for this lady, who appears to be a victim of identity theft? I find Mr Farage’s response quite high handed and the lady in question will be not be impressed by Mr Farage suggesting she has a poor memory or that she changed her mind.
    Now let us consider the candidiate,in getting someone to nominate you, is it not best practice to actually know the person who is nominating you…I thought that was the general idea?

    • Davy Jones

      16.Apr.2013 10:59pm

      What is really, really interesting is how frightened the Torys are that Island electors will find other candidates far more attractive than their own. Otherwise why spend hours wading through forms to see who has nominated who – or who might have the damn cheek to put a photo of their own MP on their literature?

      Farage says they asked a UKIP candidate to stand aside and Pugh is begging a Shanklin town council candidate to do the same to give him a clear run.

      In Shanklin they’re even threatening people suspected of supporting Priest/Gilby with having membership of the Shanklin Con Club taken away – and that’s only a social club with cheap beer (one of the better ones though).

      Absolutely no doubt about it they are very rattled.

      Rumours are that lots of letters will be posted out in Shanklin South because they can’t get deliverers. So if you get a letter through the post from the Boy Pugh keep the letter and the envelope safe – as his election expenses may make very interesting reading.

      Questions may need to be asked after May 2nd if he does just scrape home. If they are the torys may find themselves in trouble.

      Some free advice for Wells – don’t pick a fight on breaking the rules unless you are squeaky clean.

      • it is quite correct that the nomination form only has room for proposer, seconder and 8 nominees.

        What I believe has happened is that a UKIP representative ( as UKIP have no records of previous voters or pro UKIPPERS) has had to door knock to try and convince 8 people to act as nominees (presuming that proposer and seconder would at least be available)…shear number of UKIP candidates would mean that this would be quite a hard job and especially as most (if not all) UKIP candidates are paper candidates only…

        An over zealous representative may have considered taking a short cut and come up with 14 names for the candidate to chose 8 of.

        I know a few well established candidates locally have had trouble finding 8 nominees…so UKIP may well have been tempted

      • @Davy Jones “In Shanklin they’re even threatening people suspected of supporting Priest/Gilby with having membership of the Shanklin Con Club taken away”

        The application forms to joing Shanklin Con club- admittedly good food, good beer- commits the successful applicant to support the Conservative Party in a number of ways

        As fulfilling that obligation would have made my stomach rebel and thus waste the good food and good beer, I declined with “no thanks”! :-))

  9. I have just noticed a mention of election expenses. So a question to those in the know. How much are they allowed to spend? Also when a retiring conservative sends a newsheet around all his ward announcing his retirement and at the same time reccommending the new man who will be standing, with an electioneering message from the new man, will this count as expenses. This was sent before the cut off date for registering, but near enough to count. I expect this is just a shoddy way to get over the expenses but it should be reported to The chairman of the conservatives and see if he shouts a loudly as he is doing at the moment.

  10. mike starke

    17.Apr.2013 8:09am

    It really is tremendous fun watching two right wing factions tearing seven bells out of each other over a scribble on a piece of paper.

    May I add my six penn’orth to the (mostly) entertaining speculation surrounding the issue?

    Unlikely though it might seem, given past form for intellectual ability, is it not possible that Tory agent Alan Wells’s blustering is a Baldrick-like “cunning plan”.

    Because all the time we are enjoying the slapstick over a signature, is time that is ticking away towards 2 May, enabling Mr Wells and his candidates to avoid having to tell the Island electorate why and how they have managed to make our education and social services, among other things, so spectacularly unfit for purpose.

    These vital issues are certainly notable by their absence from an Island-wide Tory election advert I have seen, as well as being missing from my own ward candidate’s version of the same hymn-sheet of praise for the catalogue of disasters over which he and his Tory council colleagues have presided for eight years.

    While I am enjoying all the knockabout fun Alan Wells and the Tory boys and girls are providing for us, I do hope we don’t end up paying for it by waking up on 3 May to find the laugh is on us by being lumbered with another four years of County Hall incompetence from the Conservatives’ cast of clowns.

    • As usual, Mike makes a very valid point. Let’s not get bogged down in the minute detail of electoral etiquette and end up forgetting what this administration has been doing to us for the past eight years.

      • steephilljack

        17.Apr.2013 9:23am

        Just in case anyone has forgotten what the Conservatives set out to do, these are the priorities taken from IoW Conservatives website: you can add a mark out of 10 for each:
        “In 2011, the Conservative Team at County Hall agreed the local authority’s Corporate Plan for the following two years.

        This sets out the eight priorities to which the IW Council directs its limited resources.

        These currently are:
        * Raising educational standards;
        * Highways PFI;
        * Keeping children safe;
        * Supporting older and vulnerable residents;
        * Housing and homelessness;
        * Regeneration and the economy;
        * Waste strategy (recycling & minimising landfill);
        * Delivery of savings through changed services.

        More details on proposed future policies, including for the next council term, will be published on this page in the run up to May 2013”.

  11. Tory’s given £600 each by the party machine,
    ALL independents are having to pay ALL their own expenses,,think it is time to vote for people who put their OWN money where their mouth is

  12. Does anybody know if Labour and UKIP candidates receive the same kind of support from their respective parties?

    • Robert Jones

      17.Apr.2013 12:49pm

      I doubt they receive anything like the same level of support; in my time, we paid for the election address and incidentals (sorry you were out cards, canvass cards and so on) but the poor candidate had next to no say in how many leaflets he got, unless he dug into his own pocket to pay for extra ones. Reasonable that party members should get their basic materials paid for, given they will have worked their socks off to raise the money in the first place: but neither Labour nor, I think, LibDems, could afford largesse.

    • Nope… we get great support and education from the longest serving Councillor in opposition on how to connect to the electorate and the ins and outs of electoral procedure, but our budget is limited well below that…about the same amount again will come out of my own pocket

  13. Davy Jones

    17.Apr.2013 9:51am

    Speaking of smears and broken promises – this was sent by Eddie ‘Asphalt’ Giles – to every tory candidate last week.

    “And the Indies said they would post the names of all 35 of their candidates by yeserday. Another broken promise from them. Actually they should have 36 because when the 35 figure was announced thet were saying they had 5 vacancies for candidates and one of these was subsequently filled in Wootton Bridge. Still only 16 on their website and I see the latest, Valvona, is telling lies about the PFI. Anyway with a name like that you would expect a load of rubbish!

    I also see that Adrian Whittaker, disgraced former Lib Dem councillor and convicted criminal, is election agent for Independent (ex BNP) Geoff Clynch in Lake.”

    No mention of the torys own broken promises – like improving education standards and keeping children safe – rather more important most people think. No mnetion of their very own ‘convicted criminal’ candidate Wayne Turncoat Whittle’. And is that a touch of racism in there? ‘Anyone with a name like that you would expect a load of rubbish’.

    Anybody got a copy of their 2009 election manifesto? It would be good to see how many of their promises have been kept. Perhaps OTW could ask Alan Wells for a copy.

    • i always fine it funny that people bring up old news may be this person has nothing better to do i guess he is on of the island bigoted nimby

    • Is this the same Adrian Whittaker, who’s father, David, a Tory, is a convicted sex offender and standing in Newport?

    • @ Davy, thanks for giving me a laugh. If what you say is correct about the correspondence sent by one of the leading IW Councillors last week my IQ must be higher than his and he a man who was once giving legal advice.
      How many times do these pigheaded tories have to be told that there is a difference between being an Island Independent and an Independent. I understand the differnce and I haven’t got much of the old grey matter that still works. So here goes for all those tories who read this blog.
      1. Independent (not using the Island label) means you are running for office independent of any group or affiliation to any group, eg: on one’s own accord.
      2. Island Independent means you have joined together with like minded individuals and signed a behaviour code. EG if you change parties you will resign and stand for your seat again at election. Come on tories, you must know what this is, it is exactly what Wayne Whittle did not do when he joined the tory group.
      3.Geoff Clynch is a member of the group covered in group 1. So is the candidate for Wootton. As is David Whittaker. They are totally independent.
      NOW HAVE YOU TORIES GOT IT? Come on Eddie you are supposed to be intelligent.
      Had a candidate (tory) call on me a few days ago and when I raised education on the Island they said they didn’t know much about it but would learn once they got in. Gave me a lot of confidence. We must all get out there on 2nd May to ensure we have honest, open minded and fair representation. Something lacking at the moment.

      • Sam, my understanding of Island Independents would lead me to amend your second point about them being “like-minded”, and about if they “change parties”, in case you are misunderstood by anyone.

        I believe Island Indies are each totally individual as regards their policies and how they would like to see the Island change/not change. They are not a party and do not therefore sign up to shared (like-minded) policies.

        As you say, though, it is the standards of behaviour as councillors that they are signing up to together, and the processes by which decisions will be made, in order to promote democratic consultation, fairness and openess.
        Their policies remain very individual.

        Each will work with other councillors of parties as well as other Independents, as and when they share similar views. (See recent-past topics OTW, where Island Indies put this far better and in greater detail).

        • so they might as well as stood for Labour then :)

          • No, because an Island Indie isn’t signing up to Labour party (or anyone else’s, just their own) policies, nor are they accepting the Labour party’s (or anyone else’s) whip.

          • phil jordan

            18.Apr.2013 7:38am

            This might be a good point to remind some people that Epsom & Ewell have been independently controlled for over 60 years!
            Under a banner of Residents Association that have managed to ‘work together’! progress and prosper the borough(s) and gain sufficient success and confidence to be continually re-elected for this amount of time. A unique achievement in the South of England.
            The model of governance is also very interesting and revolves around committee decisions (not cabinet which does not exist) and every single Councillor is able to ask for a decision on any matter and it is debated and voted upon in Full Council.
            For those people still dogged and entrenched in Political fixations, just look at this ‘model’ Authority to see how Democracy *could* actually work on this Island.
            There is no reason why an Independent majority could not adopt a similar approach to Council here and make those democratic changes – indeed, some of those are already at planning stage – and that could be the future for decades and generations to come…
            It doesn’t take much, a vote for change on May 2nd could start this ball rolling and we might, just might, be able to implement a democratic process that works has been shown to work and that will endure for years to come of our own lives and that of our children and grandchildren.
            It’s difficult to argue (try as some do here…) that democracy is not the best way forward and the only obvious way is to have Independent Councillors in an Independently constructed administration based upon committees.
            Don’t miss this opportunity…another 4 years could be too late.

            See here for more:

            Phil Jordan
            Independent Candidate for Ryde North West

  14. mike starke

    17.Apr.2013 10:51am

    This is such sidesplitting stuff!

    No sooner do I hit the “send” button on my Tory “cast of clowns” comment than Davy Jones rings up the curtain on some slapstick stand-up by red-nosed, big-booted, bow-tie-rotating Eddie “The Legal Eagle” Giles.

    Among Eddie’s other jovial one-liners to his chums in the cheap seats is one about PFI “lies”. And this from the merry prankster who always told me I didn’t know diddly squat about the PFI, ‘cos it was not like other, failed models; it was all just a government grant with no involvement from outside financial institutions.

    … Apart from (we discovered at the last minute in August) the five-year-old, tax-haven-registered French investment fund (aka “financial institution”, Eddie) called Meridiam Infrastructure, that now owns half the PFI contract.

    Who’s telling PFI porkies, now?

    But the fun doesn’t stop there; does anyone share my suspicion that Eddie’s rallying call to the faithful looks a tad like the work of someone who might be positioning himself to fill the possibly empty seat of group leader on 3 May?

    (Cue music: The O’Jays’ “Backstabbers”, and… Curtain down on act one of the “Giles’s Miles of Smiles” show. Tickets available from Alan Wells Productions, if the theatre isn’t shut down as a cost cutting measure).

  15. downwind resident

    17.Apr.2013 11:32am

    Mr Wells is trying to divert attention from the real issues on this island.

    Cllr. Pugh has refused the opportunity to stand up and make his own case for re election at the Shanklin hustings.

    Eurovia has refused to meet our Member of Parliament in a public meeting to answer his written questions from WRAP about the proposed asphalt plant.

    Perhaps Mr Farage MEP would like to attend the Shanklin hustings and cover these and other real issues in his own inimitable style.

  16. Barney McGrew

    17.Apr.2013 1:26pm

    Mike is right, yet again. I’m not impressed with this mud slinging surely it should be about informed debate – something sadly lacking over the last 8 years.

    As for underhand deceit I was witness to a Conservative councillor telling a prospective Independent candidate that they would endorse their canditature if they promised to become a Conservative when they won.

  17. Retiredhack

    17.Apr.2013 9:32pm

    I can understand Wells and the rest of them panicking about UKIP.
    Last month Crewe parish (town) council in Cheshire held its elections. Labour swept the board, as usual, taking all 20 seats. But in every ward,UKIP beat the Conservatives into third place. They are stealing Tory votes by the bucketload,and one doesn’t need to agree with a word they say to wish them the best of luck in that enterprise – so long, of course, as they don’t actually win any seats.

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