Ukip leader Gerard Batten backed by party’s national executive

Ukip’s national executive has voted against a motion of no confidence in leader Gerard Batten.

Mr Batten has come under fire within the party in recent weeks for taking far-right activist Tommy Robinson on as an adviser.

Last month, Nigel Farage said he would write to Ukip’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to demand a vote of no confidence to remove Mr Batten as leader, and accused him of damaging both the party and the Brexit cause.

On Sunday, Ukip said the NEC had voted “overwhelmingly” against a motion of no confidence.

A statement also said, however, that the party “does not endorse the appointment of Tommy Robinson in any advisory role”.

It added: “He is not a Ukip member and through his associations he is barred from joining Ukip.”

Mr Batten previously defended his decision to give Mr Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, a role advising him on rape gangs and prison reform, describing the English Defence League founder as “courageous”.

Tommy Robinson
Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson (David Mirzoeff/PA)

He denied moving Ukip to the extremes or opening its doors to racists, and told the BBC Mr Robinson would help him turn the party into a “mass movement… a party for ordinary people”.

Mr Robinson is expected to feature prominently in a Brexit march in London two days before the Commons votes on the UK’s EU withdrawal deal.

Ukip said the December 9 march had not been organised by the party, but added: “Members are free to attend should they wish.”

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