UKIP leader boycotts his own party conference over low ticket sales

PUBLISHED: 11:30 18 September 2019 | UPDATED: 11:30 18 September 2019

Dick Braine. Photograph: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images.

Dick Braine. Photograph: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images.

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The leader of UKIP is boycotting his own party conference because it hasn't sold enough tickets.

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Richard Braine is now in a public row with the party's ruling national executive committee (NEC) over the matter.

He has called for the cancellation of the conference, which is due to start in Newport on Thursday.

Party chair Kirstan Herriot wrote to members criticising Braine over his "regrettable decision not to attend our own conference due to low ticket sales".

"Both I and the NEC believe it is a complete insult to the membership to attempt to cancel conference because of a potentially low turnout," she wrote.

"It is also a particular affront to hard-working regional, county and branch officers who have worked hard in encouraging members to attend conference to hear Richard lay out his vision for the future of UKIP. It is therefore a particular shame that he has decided not to do this."

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Herriot said the conference would go ahead and Braine would be welcome to take the stage "as leader of our great party" if he has a change of heart.

Braine, the party's 11th leader, took over from Gerard Batten after the party was wiped out in May's European elections, with UKIP haemorrhaging support to former leader Nigel Farage's new Brexit Party.

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