Last night saw impassioned debate within social media outlets regarding the removal of UKIP’s Olly Neville from his post as Interim Chairman of Young Independence, the party’s youth wing. Traditionally cast in a more libertarian light than the rest of the party, the announcement was made via the Young Independence Twitter account last night. Some supporters of Mr. Neville have resolved to cancel their party membership and, in a few cases, defect to the Conservative party.
The reasons behind the removal appear to be related to the ex-Chairman’s comments when speaking on the BBC’s ‘The World At One’ programme, during which he publicly contradicted the party’s anti-gay marriage stance and described the upcoming European elections as a ‘sideshow’. UKIP are likely to face charges of hypocrisy after their party leader, Nigel Farage, claimed that he would like UKIP to be a ‘party of free thinkers’ earlier this week.
UKIP describe itself as a ‘libertarian’ party, but last night’s events may cause some to question whether dismissal as a result of deviation from the party line is a truly ‘libertarian’ way of running Young Independence. The true extent of the damage to UKIP remains to be seen.