Ahead of UKIP’s candidate selection meeting tonight, Peter Staveley, the party’s branch chairman in Croydon, has issued an apology to the family and friends of Councillor Gerry Ryan, who died last month, for what he describes as “the crass actions” of three of his party members who insensitively called for the by-election before the funeral has been held.
With UKIP’s Lambeth and Croydon North branch suspended while the conduct of its erstwhile chairman, Winston McKenzie, is investigated by his party, the organisation of the selection meeting tonight has fallen to Staveley, who has told Inside Croydon, “I am bitterly disappointed that certain UKIP members took it upon themselves to call the by-election.”
One of the tactless troika of UKIP members who submitted the formal request to Croydon Council to hold the by-election is Emmanuel Ehirim, who is expected to seek selection as tonight at the meeting, being held from 8pm at the Khyber restaurant in South Croydon.
Staveley, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Croydon Central at the General Election, told Inside Croydon, “In these circumstances political parties normally show respect to the deceased and their family by not calling the by-election until after the funeral. I would have wanted UKIP to have shown that respect.
“I had a lot of time for Councillor Ryan because he would often talk to me about various issues even though he knew that I was a member of another party.
“Apart from anything else, due to the issues within Croydon North it is down to me to organise the candidate selection so it was in my interest to have as long as possible to make these arrangements. Therefore, this foreshortening of the time frame has annoyed and inconvenienced me greatly.
“I am really annoyed with the members concerned. I can assure you that they acted without any direction from me or UKIP, they did not bother to inform me at all. So even though it was not the fault of UKIP, I apologise for the crass actions by our members and for any offence caused to Councillor Ryan’s family.
“I can assure you that had I any knowledge of their actions in advance I would have stopped them from calling the by-election.”
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