Where will he wash-up next?
Winston McKenzie today announced that he has resigned from UKIP because he has been subjected to racism by the party, after they declined to select him as their candidate to run for London Mayor. McKenzie had been a member of UKIP since 2009. Today’s announcement prompts the question: why did it take him so long to work it out?
UKIP is, we reckon, at least the sixth party in which the failed boxer and night club manager has sought to pursue a political career, in additional to numerous lost deposits in elections when he has stood as an independent. McKenzie is that rarity in British politics: someone who has managed to get fewer votes in an election than someone who was not standing.*
Inside Croydon is unable to confirm that McKenzie has today requested a membership form for Plaid Cymru, though talks are on-going with the DUP. But then, talks are always on-going with the DUP.
McKenzie had been an unsuccessful UKIP candidate for election on a several occasions, most recently for the Croydon North parliamentary seat at May’s General Election.
McKenzie told ITV News: “I’m incensed at the present moment because where I stand in UKIP, I feel as though I’ve been completely ignored, racially discriminated against by people in the higher echelons of the party. I’m talking about the leader’s followers.”
McKenzie was dropped earlier this year as UKIP’s “Commonwealth spokesman”, as his outlandish conduct and increasingly eccentric pronouncements appeared to cause Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, growing embarrassment as he sought to have the party taken more seriously.
When seeking UKIP’s nomination for London Mayor, McKenzie’s one policy proposal appeared to be: “London needs an enema.” McKenzie did not even make it on to UKIP’s candidate list for the London Assembly elections, as the party selected Peter Whittle to run for Mayor.
McKenzie’s resignation, however, may have more to do with the on-going controversy surrounding the accounting for thousands of pounds of campaign donations.
As Inside Croydon has reported previously, McKenzie and his close associate, Marianne Bowness, were subject to formal complaints from members of their local UKIP branch. McKenzie had been the chairman of the Croydon North and Lambeth branch of UKIP, and Bowness – the ex-wife of Lord Bowness, the former Tory leader of Croydon Council – was the branch treasurer.
According to local UKIP sources, the investigation earlier this year followed allegations raised about the accounting for donations received by McKenzie and Bowness. As well as the handling of a £1,000 donation for last year’s local election campaign, the matter of a £2,000 loan from an elderly member of the branch was believed to be under scrutiny. Payments to “security” hired for McKenzie’s notorious “Croydon Carnival” before the 2014 local elections were also questioned.
Members of the local branch were concerned about the manner in which party finances were being run while McKenzie and Bowness were also involved with their own enterprise, a company called CTI Expo Ltd.
The Croydon North and Lambeth branch had its operations suspended for a period by UKIP head office; when it was re-constituted, neither McKenzie nor Bowness held any officer position, although McKenzie did continue as the General Election candidate.
As recently as this weekend, a UKIP spokesman told Inside Croydon: “The party investigation did not find evidence of wrongdoing. Winston and Marianne remain members of the party and the branch.”
Until now, it seems.
* In the 2008 London Mayor election, McKenzie, standing as an independent, came last of all candidates, with 5,389 votes. He was beaten by English Democrat Matt O’Connor, who polled 10,695 votes despite having withdrawn from the election after the ballots were printed.
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