A former chairman of UKIP has been suspended for 100 years for “bringing the party into disrepute” by speaking to a Sunday newspaper.
Paul Henke, the former party chairman in Scotland, has been barred after speaking to the Sunday Herald to complain about the behaviour of a fellow party member.
The paper reported that Mr Henke was hit with the ban, which would in theory last until his 163rd birthday, after he spoke to the title about a row within the party over the selection process for the European Parliament elections.
One source in the party described the 100 year suspension as a “fatwa” and a number of senior party members have written to national UKIP chairman Steve Crowther to demand the withdrawal of the suspension.
The Sunday Herald reported that there had been infighting within UKIP in Scotland, which came to a head during the internal selection process for the European Parliament vote, during which six of the nine shortlisted candidates quit before ballot papers were sent.
David Coburn, who was chairman of UKIP in London, won the contest but 10 party members later signed a complaint against him, making various allegations.
The complaint was passed to the Sunday Herald and Mr Henke commented to the title about it, saying the party “should have honourable people as candidates”.
Days later, he received an email from Mr Crowther suspending his membership of the party for 100 years.
Sunday Herald editor Richard Walker told HTFP: ‘’UKIP say they have banned their former Scottish chairman Paul Henke for 100 years for bringing the party into ‘disrepute’ and ‘deliberately sabotaging’ their election campaign in Scotland.
“The UKIP stories the Sunday Herald has covered recently suggest the party is doing a very good job of achieving both those ends all by itself.
“Henke’s comments to the Sunday Herald were in fact pretty mild and it doesn’t reflect well on UKIP that it should inflict such a ridiculously over-the-top punishment.’’
The email suspending Mr Henke said: “This is to you inform you that I am today suspending your membership of the party for a period of 100 years.
“As a signatory of the complaint against our Scottish candidate which has been passed to the Sunday Herald, and having given your opinion on that subject to the Sunday Herald last week, you have brought the party into disrepute, and appear to be engaged in deliberately sabotaging our election campaign in Scotland.”
Following Mr Henke’s suspension, UKIP’s former Scottish leader Lord Monckton and seven other senior members wrote to Mr Crowther demanding withdrawal of the suspension and also calling for his resignation as party chairman.
UKIP had not responded to requests for a comment at the time of publication.