UKIP’s Winston McKenzie quizzed over Carnival payments

Winston McKenzie, right, with a member of his "team" at the "Carnival"

Winston McKenzie, right, with a member of his “team” at the “Carnival” in May, for which the UKIP candidate made unauthorised payments

Winston McKenzie, the colourful UKIP parliamentary candidate for Croydon North, made unauthorised payments from local party funds towards the staging of the now infamous Croydon Carnival which he staged before the local elections earlier this year, Inside Croydon has discovered.

McKenzie had to face questions from an extraordinary general meeting called by his local branch this week to investigate the accounting – or lack of it – for a large cash donation.

For anyone who has not yet seen the shambles which was the product of UKIP McKenzie’s organisational skills, this is a good opportunity to re-run the video from May…

It appears that “Chump” McKenzie not only brought chaos to the streets of Croydon, there was an element of disarray in his financial management beforehand, too.

Around 30 members from UKIP’s Lambeth and Croydon North branch, of which McKenzie is the chairman, attended the meeting this week, which was summoned to discuss the receipt of a cash donation of £1,000, given towards election costs, and how that money was used.

Carrying some responsibility for the absence of records for the donated money is Marianne Bowness, the treasurer for UKIP’s Lambeth and Croydon North branch.

Bowness is McKenzie’s closest ally. She is the former wife of Peter Bowness, the still-influential former leader of Croydon Conservatives, who is now a Tory peer in the House of Lords.

In May’s council elections, Bowness stood as a UKIP candidate in Selhurst ward, while McKenzie was a candidate in South Norwood. Between the pair of them, they polled fewer than 1,000 votes.

Former boxer McKenzie – the self-proclaimed “Champ” who has never won an election nor a professional boxing title – trailed in a badly beaten ninth in South Norwood, the high-profile UKIP figure finishing behind Labour, Tories and Green candidates, a long way short of being the “UKIP fox in the hen house” which he had threatened (somewhat incoherently, it has to be said).

At this week’s meeting of his UKIP branch it emerged that for his publicity stunt of the Croydon Carnival – which was given a wide berth by his party leader, Nigel Farage – McKenzie paid out £350 from branch funds to four friends to provide “security”. There is no invoice for these “Chums of the Chump”.

A quick trawl of the interweb shows that the going rate among local, professional firms for a two-hour booking of four trained security personnel is around £100.

Those present at the Carnival, held just days before the local elections, noted that there was little obvious sign of “security”, beyond the minder tin an ill-fitting suit who seemed to be physically attached to McKenzie’s side.

At the extraordinary meeting of his UKIP branch, McKenzie conceded that the payment had been made without the proper authority, and he had no receipt or invoice for the transaction.

Nonetheless, those attending the EGM accepted the explanation of the failed boxer, failed bar owner and serially failed politician, and no further action is believed to be taken over the episode.

And these people want to be allowed to run the country?

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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