Wednesday 28 August 2013

Mike Nattrass loses MEP de-selection case

Mike Nattrass MEP has lost his case against UKIP over his de-selection as an MEP.

Mike was due to retire in 2012 to give his replacement an opportunity to build up their profile with the electorate before the next election but changed his mind.  He subsequently put himself forward for re-selection this year but was turned down.  He says he was turned down unfairly, the judge said "politics isn't fair" and ordered him to pay £9,000 in costs.

The reason why Mike was de-selected hasn't been made public - not even to him - but is likely to be a result of his siding with Nikki Sinclaire when she was in open warfare with the party and for some time after she parted company with UKIP.

The crux of his legal complaint seems to be that the process was unfair.  In emails he and his supporters have sent to members he's cited the lack of a psychometric test for sitting MEPs as a reason why the process is unfair.  But not requiring sitting MEPs to undergo a psychometric test presumes that they've passed so that removes a barrier rather than adding one.  He also says that he wants the membership to decide who should stand and that's what the rules say but the rules were changed some time ago to give the NEC more control over the lists and the membership voted for those new rules.

When the regional lists were released I was surprised to find that Mike's name was missing but it was always a possibility given his recent history with the party which marred many years of hard work and dedication to the party and the eurosceptic cause.  I just can't see where the rules were broken or where Mike or any of the other MEPs were treated unfairly though.

Perhaps now the court case is finished the party's side of the story will be made public so members can take a balanced view on whether Mike was treated fairly.