Kilroy loses poll on UKIP leadership bid

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Indy Politics

Robert Kilroy-Silk said last night that he would not give up his bid for the leadership of the UK Independence Party despite a poll of party chairmen showing a majority against him.

Robert Kilroy-Silk said last night that he would not give up his bid for the leadership of the UK Independence Party despite a poll of party chairmen showing a majority against him.

The millionaire backer of UKIP, Alan Bown, threatened to withdraw funding for Mr Kilroy- Silk's East Midlands European seat, to stop his challenge to the UKIP leader, Roger Knapman, a former Tory MP.

Mr Knapman's backers released a straw poll of half of the UKIP party chairmen showing 69 per cent would vote for Mr Knapman compared to only 13 per cent for Mr Kilroy-Silk.

"If Robert decided to continue with his leadership challenge, I will reluctantly have to reconsider the funding that I have promised for his personal election campaign in the East Midlands," said Mr Bown, a Kent businessman.

Supporters of Mr Kilroy-Silk, who wants to stand for the Westminster Parliament, condemned the poll as false and fraudulent and a "Mugabe-style plebiscite". Mr Kilroy-Silk said: "Nothing will make any difference. I will carry on making the case to govern ourselves."

His supporters, led by Damian Hockney, UKIP's leader on the Greater London Assembly, are considering legal action to force a leadership election.

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