Mark reckless

Mark Reckless’s defection presents the Tories with a conundrum

Mark Reckless infuriated many Tories when he defected to Ukip. Now, he’s defected again – and made few people happy in the process. The Ukip AM has announced that he is joining the Conservative Group in the Welsh Assembly, where he sits as a regional representative. Not for the first time, he is following in the footsteps of Douglas Carswell – this time by leaving Ukip behind. And his reasons for doing so are similar to Carswell’s: Brexit means that it’s mission accomplished. In his statement, he says: ‘I am joining the Conservative Group in the Welsh Assembly. I leave Ukip positively, having achieved our joint aim, a successful referendum

How Ukip intends to fight (and maybe win) the Oldham West & Royton by-election

The death of Michael Meacher means the first by-election of this Parliament is upon us — as well as the first with Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. The exact timings have yet to be announced but sometime before the end of 2015 seems likely. The seat is likely to be a shoo-in for Labour: Oldham West & Royton and its predecessor constituency have been represented by Meacher since 1970 and by Labour since 1950 (minus one by-election in 1968). But strange things happen in by-elections and Ukip managed to increase its vote share in May’s general election by 17 per cent to 20.6 per cent. Labour has a whopping 14,738 majority but the Kippers

Ukip accused of being too politically correct (yes, really)

Ukip have been accused of being too politically correct. Yes, you did just read that sentence correctly. In a somewhat bizarre scenario, Nigel Farage’s former senior aide Raheem Kassam has taken issue with the phrasing of a new list of appointments in the party. After Ukip released a press release announcing new positions, including Mark Reckless’s appointment as the party’s Economic Spokesperson, Kassam — who ceased working for Ukip after the election because of in-fighting in the party — reacted online. Kassam’s issue wasn’t with the people hired — or even the press release — but instead the fact ‘spokesperson’ had been used on the accompanying graphics instead of ‘spokesman’. He claims that the gender

Inside Ukip: now the infighting is over, the Kippers are readying for the battle of their lives

Ukip has been especially quiet over the last few months. Following the party’s disappointing result in the general election, Nigel Farage’s ‘unresignation’ and the briefing wars, the party has purposefully kept its head down. With Farage’s return to the spotlight last week, Kippers are gearing up for the fight of their lifetime. This is what has been going on inside Ukip in recent weeks and what you can expect to see from the so-called ‘people’s army’ over the next few months. Give peace a chance Since the internal turmoil and the ‘break’ Farage was urged to take by his colleagues, much of the party’s tensions have calmed down. Some attribute this to the pressure cooker atmosphere

Is Mark Reckless set to become Ukip’s Head of Policy?

Mark Reckless has been rather quiet during the recent Ukip wars. After losing Rochester & Strood to the Conservatives, it has been expected he would return to the party in some role or another. Now, it is rumoured that he will become the party’s new Head of Policy – replacing Suzanne Evans, who wrote the 2015 manifesto. Given that he temporarily gave the party its second seat, it would be cruel not to give Reckless something after a defeat many in the party expected. I understand that Reckless was offered the job during the contentious NEC meeting last week, where Nigel Farage unresigned as leader. It’s unknown whether he will

How Ukip became the incredible disappearing party | 26 March 2015

The establishment drive to marginalise Ukip has been under way for three months now, and it has having its effect. You will not read anything about Ukip in your newspapers unless it is a negative story — some half-witted candidate’s office fraudulently claiming expenses, or a disappointed member explaining that they’re all vile people and so on. The papers have, by and large, cottoned on to the fact that Nigel Farage saying something a little gamey about race is not, actually, a negative story. Whenever the Ukip leader mused in moderate terms that he found it uncomfortable to sit on a train where he was the only person speaking English,

What Ukip wants: get Farage elected, then prepare for a Labour collapse in the north

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Sebastian Payne and Matthew Goodwin discuss what goes on behind the scenes at Ukip” startat=1222] Listen [/audioplayer]In Ukip’s Mayfair headquarters there is a copy of Banksy’s monkey with the sign around its neck: ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge’. It seems appropriate. For years, Nigel Farage and his party were dismissed as a bunch of cranks. Within three months, they could be propping up David Cameron’s government, having named their price — perhaps an EU referendum before the year is out. Conservatives stopped sneering at Ukip a while ago. Now they’re more worried about its ambitions. What does Ukip want? Will it attack from the

Watch: Mark Reckless and Steve Crowther discuss day one of Ukip’s spring conference

Today has been ‘Nigel Farage Day’ in Margate. Although many of the party’s other prominent characters addressed its spring conference, it was the leader who entirely stole the day with a speech lapped up by the crowd. If there was ever any doubt that Ukip is built around the personality of Farage, today proved it. I spoke two of Ukip’s other key figures to gauge their thoughts on the conference. Rochester & Strood MP Mark Reckless (watch above) said it had been an ‘absolutely fantastic day’ but admitted it was a more restrained affair than Ukip’s other conferences: ‘Spring conferences are generally more restrained that the big autumn ones, even for

Ukip MPs infiltrate Conservative HQ’s Twitter feed

If social media is going to play a deciding role in the general election, the brains at Conservative HQ ought to take a closer look at who they promote on their Twitter account. The official Conservative Twitter feed has a Tweetminster list of Tory MPs on it which allows their 131,000 followers to catch up with the ramblings of all of their MPs at once. However, a quick inspection of the Tweetsminster list shows that Ukip defectors Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless remain on it despite abandoning the party: This means the Tory Twitter account is letting Ukip reach their audience, as these tweets show…   If the Conservatives plan to unsubscribe from the


Claws out in Rochester: Mark Reckless not worried by Tory candidate

Things are getting heated in Rochester after Conservative HQ announced that the lacklustre Kelly Tolhurst will return as their candidate for the general election. The businesswoman put on a dismal display when she represented the Tories in the recent by-election against Mark Reckless. Reckless won then, and judging by his recent retweets, the Ukip MP is confident he can retain the seat come what May: #Rochester & Strood Tories to help @MarkReckless retain seat for @UKIP by re-selecting @KellyTolhurst as candidate — A Jockertarian Rebel (@A_Liberty_Rebel) January 6, 2015 @marwilk @MarkReckless @BBCPolitics @UKIP True. The Tory’s kitchen sink was full of vote losing Kelly and her mind numbing rhetoric. — Debra Stevens

Even Ukip don’t dare break the unhealthy consensus on the NHS

There’s an irony about Ukip’s rise. Nigel Farage party’s popularity is driven by a widespread sense that the main parties are all the same. Yet in the past four years, the differences between the Labour party and the Conservatives have grown substantially, on issues from the size of the state to an EU referendum. In an election year you might expect parties to converge in the centre ground as they chased swing voters. It won’t happen this time. Labour is determined to stop left-wingers defecting to the SNP and the Greens, while the Tories, who have long had their own issue on the right because of Ukip, believe that their

Ukip MPs decline to comment on Nigel Farage’s ‘chinky’ remarks

Another week, another controversial set of controversial remarks from Nigel Farage — this time, it’s about the use of the word ‘chinky’ by Kerry Smith, who was running to be the Ukip PPC in South Basildon and East Thurrock. During his LBC phone-in show this morning, Farage had the following exchange with presenter Nick Ferrari about why he is ‘sad’ about Smith’s decision to resign from Ukip: ‘Farage: Because Kerry Smith is a rough diamond, he’s a council house boy from the east end of London, left school early and talks and speaks in a way a lot of people from that background do. We can pretend if we like…

How will Ukip use its first Autumn Statement in Parliament?

A lot of focus today will be on how Labour would cut the deficit (and perhaps how George Osborne actually plans to get it done rather than just talking about it, given the Item Club warning that deficit reduction will plateau). Ed Balls has been arguing this morning that Labour would ‘balance the books in a fairer way’ but he’s got to show this afternoon when he responds to the Autumn Statement that Labour really can persuade voters to trust the party again on the economy, especially now that he and Ed Miliband rank behind Farage on this matter. But speaking of Farage, today is the first economic statement in

Tories give Mark Reckless ‘worst office in Parliament’

Earlier this year Zac Goldsmith complained that he had been given ‘the worst office of any MP in Parliament’ as punishment for his disparaging remarks about the coalition. Now word reaches Mr S that the accolade of worst office has been passed to Mark Reckless following his defection to Ukip in the Rochester by-election. Unfortunately for Reckless, as Ukip are still a minority in the House of Commons, it’s the Conservatives who assign their offices. None were too happy when he defected to Ukip, and fittingly his new office reflects the ill-feeling. ‘It’s the size of a shoebox and the ceiling is so low Mark can’t even stand up in

PMQs: Ukip’s presence unnerves both the Tories and Labour

Ed Miliband is determined to talk about the NHS as much as possible at PMQs while David Cameron wants the economy to be Topic A. The result: Miliband asks about the NHS and Cameron replies by saying that you can’t have a strong NHS without a strong economy. At the moment, there is no sign of either side being able to break this PMQs stalemate. listen to ‘PMQs: Leaders battle over the NHS’ on audioBoom With the leaders stuck in a groove, the backbench questions are now where the action is. The SNP’s Pete Wishart previewed one of the SNP’s 2015 lines of attack, warning of a Ukip-UK as the

Isabel Hardman

PMQs: Ukip’s Mark Reckless begins his battle to hold his seat with local question

‘Oooooh!’ shouted MPs when Mark Reckless got to his feet today at Prime Minister’s Questions for his first chance as a Ukipper to grill David Cameron. The newly-re-elected MP had looked rather nervous for most of the session as he bobbed up and down trying to get the Speaker’s attention, but he probably didn’t need to be so anxious given Bercow is normally very happy to call new MPs, especially ones the Prime Minister doesn’t like. When his chance came, he asked the following question: ‘I’m grateful to the Prime Minister for spending so much time in Rochester and Strood. Dr Philip Barnes, acting chief executive of Medway Hospital, said

Lloyd Evans

PMQs sketch: In sickness and in health

Health, health, health. Viewers of PMQs must be sick of it by now. Health this, health that. Health, health. On and on. Ad nauseam. Today’s exchanges involved the usual tussle over which Superman can save the NHS. Dave and his virile economy or Ed with his honked out assertions that he’s the patient’s champion? The only place where healthcare isn’t massively overstretched is west Africa. Tory Edward Garnier revealed that a spanking new hospital in Sierra Leone, completed with UK money, and run by Save the Children, is currently treating just five patients. So that’s how you hit waiting time targets. Run the place so badly that everyone runs in

Reckless gets a cross party welcome

On zero sleep and only seven hours after being re-elected, Mark Reckless was back in the Commons and sitting on the opposition benches. Rushing back to take part in a Labour PR stunt/debate on the NHS in order to shore up a Ukip weakspot, Reckless wasted no time in getting sworn back in. The Tory benches were deserted for his return, but he was given a grudging welcome back by MPs of all colours. ‘Listening to Reckless you would never think he had voted for the privatisation at the heart of the Health and Social Care Act 18 times’, mused Labour’s Bill Easterson. ‘First speech by Mark Reckless for UKIP

Ukip’s Mark Reckless wins Rochester by-election

Rochester, Kent Mark Reckless has become Ukip’s second member of Parliament, winning the Rochester and Strood by-election with 16,687 votes – a majority of 2,920 – or 42 percent of the vote. It was a less resounding victory than some in the party were expecting, but Ukip have still managed to return an MP for a far less winnable seat than Clacton – Rochester was 271st on their target list. The Conservatives came a not-too-distant second with 35 percent, with Labour far-more-distant 17 percent and the Liberal Democrats way behind the Greens with a pathetic 349 votes. It was a pretty low turnout: 51 per cent. [datawrapper chart=””] Overall, it has not been a good night for any of