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MEP Profiles: UKIP

MEP Profiles: UKIP

🕔20.May 2014

Promising to cause a ‘tetonic shift’ in UK politics, stating they are merely ‘experiencing growing pains’ with their sometimes embarrassing members and promising to be the ‘turkeys who would vote for Christmas’, UKIP have mixed their metaphors left, right and centre. But besides the ‘one-man band’ at the top of the party, who might voters in the Midlands send to represent the region from UKIP?

JILL SEYMOUR

UKIP parish councillor, Jill Seymour is a former saleswoman and member of UKIP’s National Executive Council (NEC) 2007 and 2010. Having been third on the UKIP MEPs list for the West Midlands in 2009, she now leads the candidate list ahead of this Thursday’s election.

Seymour describes herself as a “foot soldier” for UKIP and ‘heavily involved activist’. Her experience in the party since 2002 certainly suggests that Seymour is no ‘Johnny-come-lately’ to the UKIP banner.

JAMES CARVER

The small business owner and former general election candidate is second on the list of UKIP’s prospective MEPs. Bespoke umbrella maker Mr Carver stood for UKIP at the general elections in 1997 in Orpington, Kent, 2001 in Cheltenham and 2005 in Pembrokeshire.

While it is likely he will be elected as second on the candidates list, Carver has insisted that he isn’t ‘counting any chickens’ – repeated elections have taught him to be cautious about success.

Carver, like Seymour, is a UKIP veteran, joining the Party in 1997, and so keeps his focus on the governance and economic issues regarding the EU in order to maintain what he calls a  ‘positive message’, making only passing remarks about UKIP’s policies towards immigration.

BILL ETHERIDGE

Full time carer and former salesman Bill Etheridge is the third candidate on UKIP’s list. Campaigning as an ‘ordinary everyday person’, Etheridge will contest both European and local elections on the 22 May as he also campaigns to be elected for Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

While Seymour and Carver have steered clear of the challenging subjects for UKIP, namely political correctness and immigration, Etheridge has repeatedly come unstuck with some of his comments on social media. In 2011, Etheridge and his wife, both candidates for council elections at the time, were suspended from the Conservative Party for posting images to Facebook of themselves holding golliwog dolls. Etheridge, who is now a spokesman for the Campaign Against Political Correctness, stated this was to stimulate ‘healthy debate’.

Again in 2012, standing as UKIP candidate for PCC, Etheridge came under fire for posting a comment on the social networking site in response to ‘banter’ about claims Jimmy Savile sexually abused young children up and down the country. Perhaps learning from his earlier mistakes, Etheridge strongly defended Lenny Henry when fellow UKIP candidate, William Henwood, suggested Henry should emigrate to a ‘black country’ when the comic called for more people from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to be involved in creative industries.

UKIP is unlikely to gain any more than three MEPs at the polls this week. The remaining candidates are:

PHIL HENRICK
MICHAEL WRENCH
MICHAEL GREEN
LYDON JONES

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