UKIP the CONSTITUTION 2010
The official name of the Party shall be the UK Independence Party, or UKIP, or Independence, legally known as the United Kingdom Independence Party, hereinafter referred to as ‘the Party’.
2.1 The principal aim of the Party is that the United Kingdom ("UK") shall again be governed by laws made to suit its own needs by its own Parliament, which must be directly and solely accountable to the electorate of the UK. The second aim is to preserve the integrity of the UK. To this intent the Party's objects are to withdraw the UK from the European Union and to resist membership of any other international organisation, or grouping, the membership of which is incompatible with the above aims and to oppose any form of government within the UK, which may undermine its integrity.
2.2 On withdrawal from the EU, the Party will seek free trade agreements with the EU and other countries (and /or trade blocs.)
2.3 The Party will be guided in its activities by the principle of non-discrimination, including non-racism and non-sectarianism, and will be guided by the principle that all people are equal before the law.
2.4 The Party will develop a full range of domestic and foreign policies.
2.5 The Party will develop and promote legislation to protect the British people from any future Parliament giving away its powers of governance.
2.6 The Party will seek to return authority and responsible autonomy to all levels of local government; it rejects the imposition of regional government and other EU-driven regional structures.
3.1 In furtherance of these aims, the Party shall take part in all democratic electoral processes. It shall contest Westminster and European parliamentary elections, parliamentary by-elections, and local elections, elections for the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies and regional elections.
3.2 Although the Party seeks to free the UK from all the institutions of the European Union, by bringing about its withdrawal from the European Union itself, it may, until that aim is achieved, contest elections to the European Parliament and its successful candidates will take up the seats it has won and fulfil their obligations to their constituents.
3.3 The Party may also work together with other democratic parties and organisations for particular purposes consistent with its aims.
3.4 In the furtherance of its aims, the Party may:
3.4.1 raise funds and invite and receive contributions from any person or persons whatsoever by way of loan, subscription, donation or otherwise, within the limits established by electoral law
3.4.2 publish, with or without charge, any items it sees fit
3.4.3 employ and pay people to supervise, organise and carry out the Party's aims
3.4.4 purchase, lease or rent property necessary to carry out the Party's aims and make arrangements for the management of any property acquired
3.4.5 invest any monies of the Party not immediately required, in accordance with the Trustee Act of 1925 and
3.4.6 do all such other lawful things as are necessary for the attainment of its ends.
4.1 Membership is open to UK citizens and resident foreign nationals over the age of 16 years who share its aims and who are not members of any other political party or organisation membership of which the National Executive Committee ("NEC") has declared is incompatible with membership of the Party. Associate membership may be made available if thought appropriate to persons not qualified under the preceding sentences.
4.2 If a member of UKIP subsequently joins such a party or organisation which the NEC has declared to be incompatible with membership of the Party, or if the member is found to be a member of such a party or organisation then their membership of the Party will be automatically revoked.
4.3 If a member of UKIP is a member of an organisation or party which has been declared to be incompatible with the membership of UKIP by the NEC during the currency of their membership of the Party then that member will be given 28 days within which to leave the said incompatible organisation or party. If he or she fails to provide evidence of such withdrawal to the Party Secretary within 28 days his membership of the Party will be automatically revoked.
4.4 Members must maintain their subscriptions.
4.5 Members shall accept the Party's constitution and rules made in accordance with this constitution and do nothing to undermine the reputation of the Party or to bring the Party into public disrepute. Nor shall they act in a manner intended to cause, or actually causing, damage to the Party's interests including, by wilful disruptive conduct or by breaching confidentiality.
4.6 Where constituency associations are established, membership shall be of the local Parliamentary constituency association and, by affiliation of the constituency association, of the national Party. Former members who have been expelled may only be readmitted with the approval of the NEC.
4.7 The NEC may accept affiliation from other organisations. Such affiliated bodies will not enjoy voting rights.
4.8 Special Interest Groups may be given formal recognition by the Party only if they are formally brought to the attention of the NEC and the NEC does not proscribe them.
4.9 Members shall receive a membership card and the Party's newsletter. They shall be entitled to vote in all relevant internal Party elections. Members are in “ good standing” if their subscriptions are up to date and they are not subject to any suspension or exclusion either from elected office or from standing as a candidate of any sort.
5 CONSTITUENCY ASSOCIATIONS
5.1 The Party shall seek to establish an association in every UK Parliamentary constituency. Constituency associations will affiliate to the national Party by resolution at their first official meeting.
5.2 As a first duty constituency associations shall prepare, organise and fight elections within their constituency and shall nominate and campaign for a UKIP candidate in all UK Parliamentary elections and in as many local government elections as shall be expedient.
5.3 The constituency association has the responsibility for administering its own financial and other affairs subject to the constituency rule book approved by the NEC from time to time including the election of local officers and the selection of candidates for UK parliamentary and local government elections, such selection to be made in accordance with rules established by the NEC from time to time.
5.4 Where an organisation covers more than one parliamentary constituency it shall be known as a branch and paragraph 5.2 shall apply to it as if it were a constituency association.
5.5 Where a constituency association or branch has not been established, it will be the responsibility of the Party Chairman, directly or by delegation, to administer the Party in that area until a branch or association is established.
6 THE BUSINESS MEETING AND PARTY CONFERENCE
6.1 The Party shall hold an Annual Conference and other national meetings as deemed appropriate by the NEC at times and places decided by the NEC. A report and presentation of accounts to the membership by the Party Treasurer will be presented at such a meeting. Only paid up members shall be entitled to vote at such meetings and the NEC shall give active consideration to holding a Spring Conference.
6.2 The Conference proper will be open to Party members, associate members and guests. Its business will include the consideration of motions on Party policy and strategy.
6.3 Motions carried shall have advisory force and will be listed for discussion by the NEC within 3 months of the motion having been carried.
6.4 Motions for debate at the Conference must be submitted in accordance with the procedures determined by the NEC from time to time.
6.5 The NEC may also summon other special conferences for specific purposes, which will be open to all paid-up Party members. The NEC shall determine procedures for convening and conducting such conferences from time to time.
6.6 The Party Secretary shall call an Extraordinary General Meeting, giving members a minimum of 28 days' notice, if requested to do so by formal applications from twenty per cent of the Party's duly registered and properly constituted constituency associations or branches (hereinafter called "branches") drawn from at least four regions. A branch is deemed to be duly registered only if it has been registered by the Party HQ (following approval by the NEC) at least six months before the date of application. Each formal application shall include a written statement, signed by the branch chairman, verifying that the application is supported by a majority of members attending a properly convened Extraordinary General Meeting of the branch, and will be accompanied by a cheque, made out to UKIP Head Office account, for £100 (or such other amount as shall be determined by the NEC from time to time) drawn against the branch bank account, as a contribution towards the cost of the meeting. Such applications shall state the business to be dealt with and the conference agenda shall be restricted to such business and matters arising.
7 THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE (NEC)
7.1 The NEC is the Party's highest management committee, entrusted with the duty of ensuring that the Party achieves its stated objectives in an efficient and judicious manner. The NEC is responsible for the Party's funds, structure and publicity. The NEC may advise the Party Leader on political matters. The NEC shall approve the Party’s final manifesto.
7.2 The NEC may institute a postal ballot of Party members on amendments to the Party constitution, provided that a motion to do so is approved by a two-thirds majority of NEC members present and voting.
7.3 The NEC shall appoint a Party Treasurer. The Party Treasurer may be a serving member of the NEC, but need not be, in which case the Treasurer shall become an ex-officio member without a vote at NEC meetings.
7.4 The NEC shall appoint a Party Secretary. The Party Secretary may be a serving member of the NEC but need not be, in which case the Secretary shall become an ex-officio member without a vote at NEC meetings.
7.5 The NEC may establish temporary and standing committees for the administration of the Party and the development of policy.
7.6 The NEC shall normally comprise of 12 members elected to the NEC, the Party Leader and Party Chairman (who may be elected members), together with two members who shall be selected in accordance with rules to be made by the NEC from time to time from among the Party’s elected representatives who receive in respect of their elected position emoluments commensurate with full-time employment. The NEC may determine that there may be ex-officio members. Ex-officio members shall not have a vote.
7.7 Election to membership of the NEC shall be restricted to paid-up members of the Party in good standing. These members shall neither be paid employees of the Party nor any of the Party’s elected representatives who receive in respect of their elected position emoluments commensurate with full-time employment nor self employed contractors for services either with the Party nor with any of the elected representatives of the Party (provided that members who provide paid professional advice or supply goods or services on a casual basis to the Party or the Party's elected representatives from time to time shall not be excluded from standing for election to the NEC. Any dispute in relation to the foregoing proviso shall be conclusively determined by the NEC.
7.8 If at any time the Party membership of a serving NEC member shall be suspended, that member shall automatically be suspended from the NEC and shall not be entitled to resume his or her place on the NEC until after the restoration of his or her Party membership. If at any time the Party membership of a serving NEC member shall be revoked, that member shall automatically be expelled from the NEC without the need for the NEC to take any further action.
7.9 Members shall be elected for a term not exceeding 3 years and shall be eligible for re-election at the completion of the 3-year term.
7.10 Elections to the NEC shall be conducted in accordance with rules laid down by the NEC from time to time and shall take place annually on a date to be announced, together with the number of vacancies and the latest date for the receipt of nominations, in the issue of the Party newsletter penultimate to the election. The election shall be by postal ballot of members.
7.11 The election shall take place on the basis of the first past the post system. Each eligible Party member may cast a number of votes up to, but not exceeding, the number of vacancies and all votes shall be of equal value.
7.12 The resignation of a member of the NEC shall either be evidenced in writing and sent or given to the Party Chairman, or if given orally at an NEC meeting it shall be minuted and those minutes shall be signed by the chairman or secretary next to the entry relating to the resignation.
7.13 Should a vacancy occur between elections, the NEC may invite a candidate from the immediately preceding NEC election to fill the vacancy in accordance with the election rules for that election for a term until the next annual elections when the position shall be filled by election. Members joining the NEC in this way shall have the same rights as elected members.
7.14 The NEC shall meet at least six times a year. Meetings shall be chaired by the Party Chairman or, in the Chairman's absence, by the Party Leader or, in the absence of both, by a member of the NEC appointed by the NEC for that meeting only.
7.15 Seven voting members of the NEC constitute a quorum, except in the circumstances outlined in paragraphs 7.18 and 7.19 below.
7.16 Any five or more voting members of the NEC may requisition an emergency meeting of the committee by calling on the Party Secretary to summon one as soon as practicable. They must state the business to be discussed and any related motions to be put, and the agenda for the emergency meeting shall comprise this business and matters arising and no other.
7.17 Expulsion of a member of the NEC from the committee may be undertaken only by a resolution to that effect passed by at least two-thirds of the voting members present. These measures are in addition to the automatic suspension/expulsion from the committee as per 7.7.2.
7.18 Grounds for expulsion/suspension from the NEC shall be the following: -
1. Public opposition outside the NEC to measures duly approved by it if it is considered that the said public opposition has caused or is likely to cause the Party or its leadership to be brought into public disrepute.
2. Breaching of NEC or Party confidentiality
3. Persistent non-attendance at its meetings without good cause.
4. Unbecoming conduct in the course of NEC meetings.
7.19 The quorum for a meeting where a disciplinary matter involving an NEC member is to be heard shall be nine excluding the member who is the subject of the motion.
7.20 The member against whom disciplinary action is taken by the NEC must be given a reasonable opportunity to put his views to the NEC, and also to question any member who has made allegations against him (which are relevant to the action).
7.21 If the member against whom disciplinary action is to be taken by the NEC is not at the meeting, he or she must be given a reasonable opportunity to attend on a subsequent occasion. Action can only be taken in his absence if the NEC is of the opinion that it would be fair and reasonable to do so in all the circumstances.
7.22 The quorum for a meeting where a motion of no confidence in the Party Leader is to be proposed before the NEC shall be nine excluding the Party Leader. It shall require the affirmative vote of no less than nine members to pass. The Party Leader must be in attendance or if he or she is not in attendance he or she must have been given reasonable notice within which to attend. The Party Leader must be given the opportunity to address the meeting if he or she is present.
7.23 If the Party Leader shall be re-elected at an election following a vote of no confidence in him by the NEC, elections shall be held for all elected seats on the NEC no later than three months after the Party Leader's re-election, the NEC members remaining in office until their successors are elected.
7.24 In the event of an NEC election with more than five vacancies, successful candidates other than the top five shall be elected for terms of two years or one year to preserve the three-year electoral cycle, but these terms of office may be extended to not more than 3 years should further NEC vacancies occur.
7.25 The NEC may authorise the establishment of other groups of members or groups of constituency associations in furtherance of the aims of the Party. These groups shall have responsibility for administering their own financial and other affairs in accordance with the procedures set down in the rules for the said groups.
8 THE PARTY LEADER
8.1 The Party Leader shall give political and administrative direction to the Party. The Party Leader may appoint a political committee to advise him with day to day political decision making. He or she will inform the NEC of the membership of that committee.
8.2 The Party Leader shall be a member of the NEC enjoying full voting rights and shall have the right to be a full member of all sub-committees and working groups set up by the NEC; shall, subject to the approval of the NEC, appoint a Party Chairman; may make such other appointments as he or she thinks fit; and shall make or approve national statements of the Party's policies and the manner of their communication.
8.3 A postal ballot of all paid up members of the Party shall elect The Party Leader. The Leader's term of office shall run for four years. This term may be extended by the NEC passing a motion by a two-thirds majority to enable the Leader to stay in post in order to fight a General Election or European Election.
8.4 A leadership election shall be called in the event of the Party Leader's death, incapacity or resignation; on the passing of a vote of no confidence in the Party Leader by the NEC if this is endorsed by an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Party; and on the Party Leader's completion of his term of office.
8.5 Persons wishing to seek election to the post of Party Leader shall pay
to the Party funds a deposit equivalent to that demanded of candidates in elections to the UK Parliament, such deposit being returned to the candidate only if the said candidate obtain a percentage of the votes case similar to that required for return of deposit in UK Parliamentary elections. Nominations for the post of Party Leader shall require the signature of a proposer and 50 assentors, all paid-up full members of the Party who are not subject to disciplinary action, drawn from at least 10 different constituency associations or branches. They must be submitted in writing to the Party Secretary within the time specified by him. A Party Leader wishing to resign must communicate this decision in writing to the Party Chairman, who must then summon an emergency meeting of the NEC.
8.6 If there is only one valid nomination for the post of Party Leader the
candidate nominated shall be declared Party Leader without the need for a ballot. Any contested election for the leadership shall be decided by a simple majority of the votes cast. Those eligible to vote shall be paid-up members of the Party 14 days before the last date for the receipt of ballot papers.
8.7 When a vacancy in the leadership occurs due to the Party Leader's death, incapacity or resignation the election procedure shall be initiated by the Party Secretary.
9 THE PARTY TREASURER
9.1 A Party Treasurer shall be appointed by the NEC from among full party members in good standing. The Party Treasurer’s term of office shall be annual; he or she may be removed before the end of his term by a 2/3rds majority vote of the NEC. The Party Treasurer will be an ex officio member of the NEC if not already a member of it. The Party Treasurer does not hold voting rights on the NEC by virtue of his or her office.
9.2 The Treasurer shall be responsible for managing the Party's finances, for preparing annual accounts and presenting them for approval at a meeting which shall be held within the time required by the Electoral Commission for reporting accounts by the Party. He or she will carry out any other functions prescribed by statute in relation to the finances and financial reporting of the Party. He or she will chair the Finance Committee.
10 THE PARTY SECRETARY
10.1 The Party Secretary shall be appointed by the NEC from amongst full Party members in good standing. The Secretary's term of office shall be annual, he or she may be removed by a 2/3rds majority vote of the NEC. He or she will be an ex officio member of the NEC if not already a member of it. The Secretary does not hold voting rights on the NEC by virtue of his or her office.
10.2 The Party Secretary is responsible for ensuring that the administrative and other arrangements of the Party comply with all legal requirements; for maintaining an up to date record of Party members for national Party purposes; for the administration of leadership elections and elections to the NEC (except when he or she is a candidate, when the NEC shall nominate another of its members to carry out this task).
11 THE PARTY CHAIRMAN
The Party Leader will appoint a Party Chairman, subject to the approval of the NEC, from amongst full Party members in good standing. The Chairman will be an ex officio member of the NEC if not already an ordinary member of it. The Chairman will only be entitled to a casting vote whether or not he or she is an elected member of the NEC.
The Party Chairman shall chair meetings of the NEC, the Annual Business Meeting, Annual Conference and any Extraordinary General Meeting that may be called.
The Party Chairman will be responsible for ensuring that all efforts are made to have an active and properly constituted association of the Party in every constituency, financially able to support a parliamentary election campaign.
To that end, the Party Chairman may make such subsidiary administrative appointments as he or she sees fit and may suggest to the NEC the creation of paid administrative posts. The Party Chairman shall report, or ensure that a report is made by an appointed Party officer, (as appropriate), on branch activity.
The Party Chairman may, with the agreement of the Party Leader, make the appointment of up to one Vice Chairman from full members in good standing who may render assistance in his absence, and take over such duties as the Party Chairman sees fit except for the chairing of the NEC which will fall to the Party Leader in the absence of the Chairman as per 7.14.
12 SEPARATION OF OFFICE
The offices of Party Leader, Treasurer, Party Secretary, Party Chairman and Vice Chairman may only be held singly.
13 STANDING AND TEMPORARY COMMITTEES
13.1 The standing committees set up by the NEC shall include a Finance Committee and a Discipline Committee.
13.2 The Finance Committee shall be chaired by the Party Treasurer. Its responsibility will be to oversee the management of the Party's finances and to appoint auditors.
13.3 The Conference Committee will be chaired by the Party Chairman and will have the responsibility for all matters relating to the agenda of the Party Conference, including the selection of motions for debate.
The Party shall establish a Discipline Committee comprising of the Party Secretary and up to ten members approved by the annual Business Meeting from fully paid-up Party members. The Party Secretary and a minimum of four members of the Discipline Committee shall conduct specific hearings in accordance with the appropriate rules which shall be made by the NEC from time to time. Serving members of the NEC may not be nominated for election to the Discipline Panel, and elected members of the Discipline Panel must resign if elected to the NEC.
15 THE PARTY RULES
The NEC shall establish the rules governing Constituency Associations; membership of standing and temporary committees; submission of motions for debate at the Party Business Meeting, the Party Conference and special and extraordinary conferences, the conduct of these meetings, the calling and conduct of elections to the Party leadership and the NEC, disciplinary procedures and all other rules and procedures forming part of the formal management, conduct and administration of the Party save where such rules are already laid down in this constitution.
16.1 The Party shall establish a list of approved parliamentary candidates, by means of interviewing potential candidates. Potential candidates shall make a written application and shall make full disclosure of any fact, political or personal, that may have a bearing on their suitability for selection as a candidate. Candidates are under a continuing duty to disclose any facts to the Party Chairman that may have a bearing on their suitability to stand as a candidate.
16.2 The Party Chairman or Party Leader may suspend any candidate from the approved list if he or she feels that there is good reason to do so. The matter shall then be referred to the NEC to decide the question as to the candidate’s removal from or retention on the list. If a candidate who is removed from the list has already been selected by a constituency association, he or she will automatically lose all rights to be the selected candidate and the association concerned shall select a new candidate. A de-selected candidate will have the right to an appeal according to rules that shall be made from time to time by the NEC.
16.3 Potential candidates will be interviewed by at least two people who are drawn from the following categories: members of the NEC, appointed national officers and chairmen and elected officials of constituency associations or branches. The Party Chairman shall have the overall responsibility for the interviewing process and the formation and ranking of the list of approved candidates. The NEC will approve rules to govern this process.
16.4 All parliamentary candidates must be paid-up members of the Party in good standing and on the Party's list of approved candidates.
16.5 The selection from the list of approved candidates of a prospective Parliamentary candidate to contest a constituency in a general election is the prerogative of the constituency association concerned subject to paragraphs 16.1 and 16.2 above and 16.6 and 16.7 below.
16.6 The Party Leader or Party Chairman may refer the final selection of the candidate for any constituency to the NEC if, in the opinion of the Party Leader or Chairman, the particular circumstances appear to warrant such an intervention.
16.7 In the case of a by-election the selection of a candidate will be subject to consultation and agreement with the NEC.
16.8 The selection of candidates for local government elections is the responsibility of constituency associations or branches. The Party Leader or Party Chairman may refer the selection to the NEC in the same manner as in clause 16.6.
16.9 Candidates for Scottish, Welsh, and London Assemblies and other forms of national or regional government that may exist shall be chosen either by an election process or a selection process depending on which the NEC decides is appropriate in any particular case. The NEC shall devise the processes and rules. The Party Leader or Chairman may refer the selection to the NEC as per 16.5.
16.10 The NEC shall devise the procedure for selecting candidates for other elections.
17 THE CONSTITUTION: APPROVAL AND AMENDMENT
17.1 Amendments to this Constitution will come into force after the approval of a two-thirds majority of members voting in a postal ballot. Such a ballot shall be held after a proposal by the NEC approved by a two-thirds majority of those voting or at the requirement of twenty or more properly constituted and duly registered constituency associations or branches which have communicated their proposal for such amendment/s in writing to the Party Secretary. Any association or branch requiring a vote to be taken on a proposed amendment must be able to show the Party Secretary that the majority of members at a properly constituted EGM voted in favour of such an amendment.
17.2 The Party Chairman and NEC shall have the right to put separate and distinct elements or clauses amending the Constitution to a vote for the approval of a two-thirds majority of members voting in a postal ballot.
17.3 This amended constitution shall come into force immediately following its approval by members voting in a postal ballot according to the requirements of the constitution in force at that time.
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