21/01/2005

Kilroy-Silk announces departure from UKIP

Former chat show host Robert Kilroy-Silk has announced his departure from the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

Mr Kilroy-Silk had been a member of the UKIP for nine months. He helped the party to gain third place in last year's European elections when he became an MEP. However, following his win at the elections, the former labour politician and TV personality, attempted to take over the leadership of the party.

Expressing his disillusionment with the UKIP's leadership, Mr Kilroy-Silk explained his reasons for leaving to BBC News 24: "I tried to change the party, I nagged all the way through the summer to do things, to get moving because I though it was criminal what they were doing, it was a betrayal."

Mr Kilroy-Silk still plans to stand in the next general election, although he has not confirmed whether or not he will set up a new political party.

Commenting on Mr Kilroy-Silk's departure from the UKIP, Party Leader, Roger Knapman, MP, said: "We are disappointed that he felt unable to work as part of our team. He was very useful in the European Election campaign, but after that it became obvious that he was rather more interested in the Robert Kilroy-Silk Party than in the UK Independence Party."

Derek Clarke, UKIP's MEP in the East Midlands, called on Mr Kilroy-Silk to resign his seat as MEP.

He said: "We hope that he will be true to the electorate in the East Midlands and resign his seat, so that a genuine UKIP MEP may take his place. While we benefited from his profile in the last weeks of the European Election campaign, he certainly benefited from belonging to UKIP, which provided him with the platform that enabled him to be elected."

(KMcA/SP)

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