The true face of a party which wants us out of Europe

(Or 10 things the UKIP don't want you to know about them)
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Indy Politics

Twelve angry men

1. UKIP's 12 new MEPs are all white, male, and aged between 50 and 65. They include the man who, in his time as a Labour MP, before he became a television celebrity and controversial newspaper columnist (now retired), was touted as a future prime minister. Robert Kilroy-Silk's colleagues include a former Tory whip, a retired undertaker and an ex-teacher. They are promising to act together in a guerrilla campaign to wreck the workings of the European Parliament: this may be ambitious for a party which has been riven by internal divisions and has a poor record of attendance at the parliament.

A far-right alliance?

2. In the last European parliament, the three UKIP MEPs sat with the EDD group (Europe of Democracies and Diversities). The group is Eurosceptic but not in favour of withdrawal. The question is: where will UKIP sit in the next parliament? They may stay with the EDD or they could form a new grouping with MEPs totally opposed to membership. UKIP may even opt to join the far-right, as represented by Jean-Marie Le Pen.

Nice work if you can get it

3. UKIP's three MEPs in the last European Parliament had modest records. Graham Booth ranked 433rd in attendance out of 625, Nigel Farage was 554th, and Jeffrey Titford was 543rd. Each claims his parliamentary salary of £65,000 a year, and allowances can double that figure. For all that, they managed one parliamentary question during their five-year term.

On the tiles

4. Richard North, ex-UKIP research officer, said of Mr Farage: "I am not ... prepared to pour him into a taxi when he was so blind drunk he could no longer stand, or cover for him when he failed to turn up for morning appointments because he had been out on the tiles all night.''

New Britain, old prejudices

5. Two senior UKIP figures, Mike Nattrass and Mr Titford, are past members of the New Britain Party, founded as a pro-Rhodesia and anti- "coloured immigration" party. Mr Nattrass, elected as an MEP yesterday, stood for New Britain in the 1994 Dudley by-election. Asked recently about it, he said: "It isn't what you're thinking. It's not racist. It's more interested in celebrating the Queen's birthday and things like that."

'Seriously deluded'

6. George Eustice, a senior adviser to the Tory leader Michael Howard, who has described UKIP as "extremists" stood for the party in 1999, wearing a "Leave the European Union" slogan across his chest. He has said: "Although there are quite a lot of well-meaning people in UKIP, they are quite seriously deluded."

Dial Max for information

7. Max Clifford, a supporter of the Blair administration, has taken a leading role in UKIP's media strategy, in relation to its celebrity backers and donors. When it was revealed a retired bookie had given the party £500,000, callers were referred to the veteran publicist.

Three MEPs, three views

8. Alan Sked, the LSE lecturer who helped found the party, has said: "UKIP's MEPs are a standing joke at Strasbourg, where ... the three often vote in different ways on the same issue." He condemns UKIP for taking up its seats, saying the money would have been better spent on the National Health Service.

The Big Split

9. More than 200 members left in 2000 in protest at the election of Mr Titford as leader. He beat Rodney Atkinson, brother of comedian Rowan. The three MEPs split into two camps.

The BNP plot

10. UKIP announced in February that it had smashed an "infiltration" attempt by the British National Party. It expelled a member in Yorkshire, who, it said, was also a senior BNP official, and an activist in Bath accused of passing information to the BNP. But Richard Corbett, a Labour MEP, said: "In Yorkshire, where both the BNP and UKIP put up candidates, they appear to have come to an arrangement not to stand against one another."