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Ukip's Patrick O'Flynn tells Arron Banks: 'Donate and don't seek to dictate'

Ukip in-fighting deepened as leader Paul Nuttall's principal political adviser slapped down major donor Arron Banks for threatening to pull his funding unless he is made party chairman.

Patrick O'Flynn told Mr Banks: "Donate and don't seek to dictate".

It comes after the businessman threatened to take his cash elsewhere unless he is given control of Ukip so he can "purge" members and stop it being "run like a jumble sale".

Following Mr Nuttall's defeat to Labour in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, Mr Banks blamed "dullards" in a "Tory cabal" like Ukip's only MP Douglas Carswell for not bringing in enough votes from the governing party.

But Mr O'Flynn pointed out that Mr Banks himself was once a Tory member, as was his close ally Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader.

He also criticised Mr Banks's running of the Leave.EU campaign during the Brexit referendum last year.

Asked if the donor should be made chairman, Mr O'Flynn told BBC One's Sunday Politics: "I don't think so, of course I think we've got an excellent chairman in Paul Oakden at the moment and he's doing a good job and the idea that Leave.EU for instance was this smooth-running brilliant machine doesn't really sit with the facts.

"I'm always happy if people who want to give money and support to our party want to stay in the party but I think the best donors donate and don't seek to dictate.

"Of course if they are expert in certain fields people should listen to their views, but to have a donor telling the party leader who should be party chairman, that's a non-starter."

Mr O'Flynn also defended Mr Carswell after Mr Banks accused him of being preoccupied with "sabotaging" a knighthood for Mr Farage, an allegation strongly denied by the MP.

"Douglas Carswell has managed to win (parliamentary elections) twice under Ukip colours under first past the post," Mr O'Flynn said.

It comes after Mr Banks told The Sunday Express: "I am giving Paul Nuttall an ultimatum that either I become chairman and sort out Ukip by bringing in business people and professionals to make the party electable, or I am out of there.

"The party cannot continue to be run like a jumble sale.

"If Nuttall doesn't professionalise it and toss out the likes of Douglas Carswell, Suzanne Evans and the rest of the Tory cabal then the party is finished anyway.

"These dullards aren't bringing in Tory votes, Stoke proved that, so what are they for? The party now needs to bring in serious people to fix its ramshackle administration, stay relevant, and stay radical or it will die."

Ukip had seen Stoke, which voted overwhelmingly for Brexit in last year's referendum, as fertile ground for a challenge to Labour in a contest triggered by the resignation of former shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt.

However, Mr Nuttall's gamble of standing himself failed to come off as Labour's Gareth Snell held the seat with a majority of 2,620, raising questions as to whether Ukip could take seats from Labour in its traditional heartlands.

In response, Mr Farage appeared to suggest Ukip should adopt Donald Trump-style immigration policies to "own" the issue in the eyes of the electorate.


From Belfast Telegraph