Ukip 'massaging' selection process
Ukip's selection process has been manipulated to allow the leadership to install favoured candidates, it has been claimed.
Leaked emails reveal a raft of concerns about the way the system in Nigel Farage's party has been operated, including suggestions it has been "massaged by an internal clique to suit pre-determined outcomes".
Psychometric tests, interviews and assessments were used by the party to weed out potential problem candidates ahead of the campaign for the May's elections to the European parliament.
According to emails seen by The Times, Andrew Moncrieff, a member of the party's governing committee, claimed it had turned into "another classic Ukip behind closed doors selection".
He wrote last year: "There is the question of whether the final scores were massaged by an internal clique to suit pre-determined outcomes.
"What started out as an attempt to produce a transparent, equitable system has turned into another classic Ukip behind closed doors selection."
Mr Moncrieff asked why "paid party lackeys have done surprisingly well" and raised the prospect of the involvement of "Nigel's henchmen".
Ukip deputy chairman Neil Hamilton claimed the list of candidates contained "manifest absurdities" in a private email, according to the newspaper.
"As you can imagine, I'm not pleased with the MEP selection process," Mr Hamilton wrote. "Yet again, things have not been thought through properly and badly executed."
In one email exchange, Will Gilpin, the party's former chief executive, wrote: "When I saw the (MEP selection) list I concluded that the party doesn't really want to change, that the same sycophancy will be the driving force."
Mr Moncrieff and Mr Hamilton did not make the party's shortlist for the European elections.
Douglas Denny, who was selected in an open hustings to be the Portsmouth South parliamentary candidate but was later dropped by the leadership, accused the party of being "immoral, undemocratic and deeply corrupt", according to The Times.
Ukip said that its selection systems were fair and insisted Mr Farage had "no hand" in the process.
A spokesman said: "The results were not manipulated, and Nigel Farage had no hand whatsoever in the selection process, finding out the assessment results only at the NEC at which they were unveiled.
"The fairness of the process was, in fact, tested in court. The regional lists were not altered, except in Scotland where several candidates resigned, or where one or two candidates resigned in other regions.
"The process was not designed to ensure that anybody specific did not make the shortlist; it was designed, using external consultants, to ensure that comparatively unsuitable people did not make the shortlist, and worked well in that respect."