UK Independence Party

Currently boasting 9 MEPs, the United Kingdom Independence Party is based around the aim of withdrawal from the European Union altogether. From its foundation as the Anti-Federalist League in 1993, the party has always preyed on the Euro-sceptic fringes of the Conservative party. The collapse of the rival Referendum Party in 1997 led to a bolstering of UKIP membership, and the party gained three seats in the 1999 European Elections.

Amid controversies over leadership and funding, including speculation about the possible interest of Robert Kilroy-Silk in heading the party in 2004, UKIP have maintained a strong momentum heading into the current elections. A May 2009 YouGov poll placed the party on 15% of the vote, and it was reported in March that Labour MPs feared being pushed into 4th place by UKIP MEPs.

Aside from being anti-EU, the party are also strongly against ID cards, and support the replacement of income tax and national insurance by a flat tax of 33%. They also support a five year moratorium on immigration in the UK, a policy that has led them to be linked, incorrectly, to the BNP.

Within the EU, they form part of the group Independence and Democracy, a 37-strong group representing Euro-sceptics from the UK, Poland, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy and the Czech Republic. The group is co-chaired by UKIP MEP Nigel Farage and Danish priest and MEP Hanne Dahl.

CANDIDATES

Godfrey Bloom [incumbent]

As the only Yorkshire and Humberside UKIP MEP, Bloom was elected in 2004 after serving as a member of the Yorkshire Territorial Army for over 20 years. He is a popular speaker on financial economies at European universities and business seminars, but has sparked controversy with comments made about women’s rights in the workplace and roles in the home. He is the lead candidate for UKIP in the region.

Jonathan Arnold

A former Head of Mathematics at a Christian secondary school, Arnold has been a member of UKIP since 2001, and stood in the 2005 general election. He has represented England internationally playing chess, and is the former chair of a charity that provides activities for young people in Sheffield. He has also been selected to stand in the next general election for Sheffield South-East.

Jason Smith

The chairman of the Bradford & District Branch of UKIP, Smith was the main co-ordinator of the No2ID campaign in his area, and also serves as the Secretary of the Yorkshire and Humberside UKIP. A qualified alternative health practitioner, he aims to raise the profile of Yorkshire and the Humber region nationally in the media.