Do not, whatever you do, get the wrong side of Winston McKenzie, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Croydon North at next year’s General Election.
Because if you do, then he might drum you out of his little club.
The ex-boxer likes to describe himself as “Champ”, despite having never won a title or a public election. He may soon be nicknaming himself “The Avenger”, after the whistleblower who reported strange goings-ons with a large cash donation to his party was this morning kicked off McKenzie’s committee and out of UKIP’s Lambeth and Croydon North branch.
McKenzie characterised the outcome of the meeting this morning as “being kind to the old boy”. Not so much “The Avenger”, perhaps then, as “The Smiling Assassin”.
McKenzie, Nigel Farage’s chosen party spokesman on “Commonwealth issues”, was exposed as having failed to properly handle and account for a £1,000 donation to party campaign funds earlier this year.
As Inside Croydon reported, McKenzie claims to have used a large chunk of the cash – which never saw the inside of a bank – to pay a few of his mates for “security” at his chaotic Croydon Carnival in May. Not that McKenzie ever bothered getting any receipts or invoices for the expenditure, which was apparently made on behalf of UKIP.
Beyond a slapped wrist and instructions to the branch treasurer, Lady Bowness (she is the former wife of Tory peer Lord Bowness), to take more care with the party’s money in future, a report into the matter conducted by Mick McGough, a member of UKIP’s national executive, recommended no further action against McKenzie.
Inside Croydon was leaked McGough’s report, which you can read by clicking here. It is all pretty basic stuff.
Why was there no further action taken by UKIP? “Nigel feels that Winston is useful to the party,” said a senior figure within UKIP nationally, without expanding on what that “usefulness” might be. “That’s despite the lorry-loads of baggage that Winston brings with him.”
Given such a free pass, McKenzie appears to believe he can run his branch of UKIP as his own fiefdom.
So this morning, McKenzie chaired a meeting of UKIP’s Lambeth and Croydon North branch committee, called to expel from the branch the member who had highlighted the irregularities over the handling of the large sum of money.
The committee meeting was held at the “branch headquarters” on Station Road in South Norwood. “In attendance will be the Committee, myself, Marianne Bowness, Barry Slayford and Peter Kirby,” McKenzie wrote in his meeting summons.
It seems that McKenzie’s Lambeth North and Croydon branch has a committee of just five people.
Only two of those actually live in the branch area of which they are members. UKIP’s own rules on “migration” between membership areas appears a good deal more relaxed than the party’s policies on migration between EU member states.
Three of McKenzie’s branch committee do not live Lambeth and Croydon North: Marianne Bowness is a Waddon resident (in the Croydon South parliamentary constituency, and therefore under a different UKIP branch), Peter Kirby comes from Heathfield (ditto), and Peter Morgan lives in Coulsdon (same again).
And then there were four: Morgan’s UKIP membership is suspended at the moment, because of his penchant for running multiple Twitter accounts without any accountability. So he was not on the five-person committee meeting invitation list.
And McKenzie’s committee is now just three-strong, because Kirby, UKIP Lambeth and Croydon North’s membership secretary, has now been removed. Kirby was the person who raised the matter of McKenzie and treasurer Bowness’s somewhat lax financial accounting.
Today’s meeting – which was due to start at 11am on a weekday, when most hard-working people are at work – was to consider just two motions: one to accept the resignation of Kirby as a signatory to the branch bank account (Kirby tendered this resignation at the extraordinary meeting to discuss the financial irregularities on November 19), and second “To vote on the removal of Peter Kirby as a Member of the Lambeth & Croydon North Branch”.
Until today, Inside Croydon had heard nothing further from “Chump” McKenzie since he somewhat rashly threatened to employ Messrs Sue, Grabbit & Runne to sue us (though he omitted to say on what grounds).
So we phoned his mobile shortly after the meeting was due to finish. A somewhat harassed-sounding woman answered. It was Marianne Bowness. We asked to speak to Winston, and whether they’d had their meeting.
“I’m on the bus,” said her ladyship. “I’ll get Winston to call you when I am back in the office.”
Nearly two hours later, McKenzie called to say, “Peter’s a lovely bloke, but he’s getting on, he’s 83 I think.
“This has been coming for some time, and it’s affected my health, but things have changed since the local and European elections. He’s said that he’s tired and old and that he’s got to go. I begged him not to go.
“But I’ve got to accept his resignation and be kind to the old boy.”
By time of publication, Peter Kirby has not responded to our request for a comment.
Coming to Croydon
- David Lean Cinema, Wakolda, Nov 27
- The Last Sense of Sudden, Spread Eagle Theatre, Nov 27-29
- St Peter’s Primary School Christmas Fair, Nov 29
- Ghost Stories for Christmas, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 3
- David Lean Cinema, The Riot Club, Dec 4
- St Andrew’s churchyard gardening session, 10am, Dec 6
- Fog Horn Funnies, Spread Eagle Theatre, Dec 6
- Croydon Philharmonic Handel’s Messiah, Fairfield Halls, Dec 6
- Coulsdon Yulefest, Dec 6-7
- Oval Tavern Folk Club, Dec 7
- David Lean Cinema, ’71, Dec 11
- Mayor of Croydon’s charity Christmas dinner, Dec 12
- South Croydon business breakfast, Dec 13
- Concert of Christmas music, St Luke’s, Woodside, Dec 13
- Opera Soiree at Whitgift School, Dec 14
- Friends of the Earth Green Beanfeast, Dec 15 (book by Dec 1)
- Croydon Philharmonic Christmas concert, St Matthew’s, Dec 16
- Norwood Society talk: Penge, the making of a suburb, Jan 15
- David Lean Cinema, Northern Soul, Dec 18
- David Lean Cinema, Hitchcock’s To Catch A Thief, Dec 29
- David Lean Cinema, The Beat Beneath My Feet, Dec 30
- South Croydon business breakfast, Jan 24
- Norwood Society talk: Crystal Palace and Dulwich, Feb 19
- Norwood Society talk: Charlies Dickens in Norwood, Mar 19
- Norwood Society: Balloons and airships at Crystal Palace, Apr 16
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