The founder of UKIP’s Nottingham City branch has resigned from the party after claiming she was ‘railroaded’ from her position as chair.
Pensioner Irenea Marriott claims her bid to stand as a city council candidate in Bulwell was quashed and she will now stand as an independent.
But Mrs Marriott and fellow ex-UKIP member Trevor Rose say rules were breached during the nomination process and the new chairman, Francesco Lari, failed to disclose links to the far-right Italian political party Lega Nord (Northern League).
Irenea (74), who lives in Sherwood, said: “I have been a member of UKIP for 12 years and received a medal of appreciation for my hard work. I worked for Derek Charles MEP for five years. I have been out in all weathers for them.”
Fellow ex-UKIP member Trevor Rose, of Bulwell, said: “Both of us have worked dammed hard establishing UKIP in Nottingham and its surrounding districts. Until last July’s AGM, Irenea complied with party rules, which gives her the right to chair an AGM.”
He said rules were breached at the party’s July 2014 AGM, at which the new chairman, Francesco Lari, was nominated.
Mr Rose (70) says the member who nominated Mr Lari ‘had no right to attend that AGM. Francesco did not give 21 day’s notice. Most of those that voted for Francesco were new members, not entitled to vote until after six months’ membership.’
UKIP’s regional organiser Paul Oakden denies that any rules were breached in the election of Mr Lari as branch chairman, or in the selection of candidates.
“Both Mr Rose and Mrs Marriott were members and they were both beaten by Mr Lari - which unfortunately sometimes happens in a democracy. Mrs Marriott has worked really hard for UKIP and has a great deal of respect in the party. At the end of the day long-service is wonderful, but it doesn’t mean you are the best candidate for the job.”
Mr Rose says he is also concerned about Mr Lari’s connection with Lega Nord.
He said: “Party rules stipulate that before becoming a UKIP member, you have to reveal your past political involvements. Francesco did not inform Irenea and me.”
Mr Oakden said: “UKIP has a list of proscribed parties like the BNP - but Lega Nord is not on that proscribed list.”
Mr Lari said he was a local councillor for Lega Nord in his home town near Bologna in 2009, and resigned before moving to Nottingham in 2013.
He described Lega Nord as a regional party, ‘roughly like the SNP’, but ‘leaning more towards the conservative.’
He said: “I have always been involved in the social life of the towns I am living in, I believe that it is a civil duty to volunteer for the good of the community. Apparently I was a decent councillor because I am still receiving email from citizens that thanks me for the job I did at the time.”