‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Friday, 5 October 2012

UKIP gains McNarry, loses Knapman: shades of Kilroy

UKIP is again at the epicentre of the latest batch of political defections – both in and out of the party. Former Ulster Unionist member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, David McNarry has defected to UKIP.

But the news of McNarry’s arrival has been offset by the announcement that former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclair is setting up a new party, the We Demand a Referendum Party. Sinclair has been joined by Roger Knapman, fast becoming a serial defector, as a former Conservative MP and UKIP MEP and party leader. Knapman and Sinclair have also attracted the support of former Apprentice contestant, Katie Hopkins.

This all brings back memories of Robert Kilroy-Silk’s party-hopping. Kilroy-Silk was a Labour MP, then UKIP MEP, then founder of Veritas, until he resigned from the party which he himself founded in 2005. His resignation from UKIP appears to have been due to his thwarted leadership ambitions, but his resignation from his own party is somewhat harder to interpret.

In the British political system with so much inertia - the same three dominant parties for the last century and House of Lords reform still an unfinished project after 102 years -  the establishment and fragmentation of fringe parties, especially on the right, continues a pattern which has livened up the political scene.

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