From winning their first ever 16 seats on Lincolnshire County Council in May, UKIP in Lincolnshire had to deal with racism allegations and suspensions, leading up to the party losing its official opposition status after six councillors split from the party in September, and then kicked from the party in the following months. How did it get to this point?
May 3, 2013: UKIP win their first 16 seats for councillors on Lincolnshire County Council in the local elections, as Conservatives lost overall control after winning just 36 seats and Labour won 12 seats. The turnout was just 29% county-wide. In Lincoln the turnout was even lower at 26%.
May 9, 2013: Conservative County Council leader Martin Hill agrees on a coalition to maintain control with Liberal Democrats Reg Shore, John Marriot and Pat O’Connor, and Independents Chris Brewis, Bill Aron and Angela Newton.
May 10, 2013: Chris Pain, UKIP’s East Midlands regional chairman and Wainfleet and Burgh councillor, is voted by fellow party members as the leader of UKIP on Lincolnshire County Council. He nominates Robin Hunter-Clarke and Victoria Ayling as his deputy leaders. UKIP become the second largest group on the council, the majority opposition.
May 11, 2013: Chris Pain confidently says he will stand for MP at the next general election for Boston and Skegness against Conservative MP Mark Simmonds, squashing rumours that UKIP leader Nigel Farage will stand there given the party’s success in the area.
May 17, 2013: All 16 UKIP councillors refuse to sign an anti-racism declaration at the County Council annual meeting. The document is meant to ensure all Lincolnshire residents are treated equality and have access to the same services. The motion is passed by 60 other councillors.
May 23, 2013: Lincolnshire Police begin investigating claims that racist comments were posted on the Facebook pages of UKIP Lincolnshire leader Chris Pain and two other UKIP councillors, Alan Jesson and Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright. All three strongly denied making the comments and Chris Pain said his account had been hacked. The issue was brought to police attention by someone from the County Council.
June 4, 2013: Chris Pain is forced to step down from his East Midlands regional chairman role over the alleged racist comments posted on Facebook. UKIP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) said it was holding its judgement on until police complete their investigation. Chris Pain remains leader of the UKIP group on the County Council.
June 12, 2013: Chris Pain insists sanctions imposed on him by UKIP are just a formality while he clears his name and says he submitted an application to stand as an MEP representing the party in next year’s European election.
July 31, 2013: Chris Pain confirms his deputies Victoria Ayling and Robin Hunter-Clarke have been stripped of their roles in the party on the County Council. Councillor Ayling says “There are question marks over the process taken with this,” and that UKIP are investigating the matter. Tattershall Castle Councillor Colin Mair becomes the new deputy.
September 5, 2013: Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright gains the Fenside seat for UKIP on Boston Borough Council with 162 votes. The by-election was called after English Democrats Councillor Eliott Fountain was ousted for not attending any council meetings for over six months.
September 6, 2013: Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright, and Bob McAuley, elected at a by-election in May, form a UKIP group on Boston Borough Council. Former Independent McAuley stood as a UKIP candidate in a by-election in the Staniland South ward following the death of Conservative councillor Paul Mould. He is leader of the new UKIP group with Keywood-Wainwright as deputy leader. These are the first two UKIP seats on Boston Borough Council.
September 9, 2013: Lincolnshire Police drop their investigation into the alleged racist comments from Chris Pain and two other UKIP Lincolnshire councillors. Police say there is a possibility the councillors’ Facebook accounts were hacked, but there was not enough evidence to trace whoever posted the comments. “Fictional police and CSI shows often depict investigations where information in cyberspace can be traced instantly, but the reality is very different,” the force says.
September 10, 2013: Chris Pain is suspended as UKIP leader on the County Council under the emergency powers of the chairman of UKIP, after he wrote a complaint against UKIP national chairman Steve Crowther, which might be subject of legal action. A disciplinary committee will be sitting within the next 10 days for Chris Pain. Deputy Colin Mair is appointed as acting UKIP leader in Lincolnshire.
September 11, 2013: A majority of Lincolnshire UKIP councillors sign a letter of no confidence to County Council chief executive Tony McArdle. With majority written support from his group, Colin Mair takes over as UKIP leader on the council on a temporary basis until a formal election is held. Pain remains a councillor for Wainfleet and Burgh.
September 12, 2013: Chris Pain forms a breakaway group from UKIP, called UKIP Lincolnshire, along with councillor Alan Jesson.
September 13, 2013: Councillors Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright, Richard Fairman, Bob McAuley and John Beaver also join the breakaway UKIP Lincolnshire group, which has in total six seats. UKIP are demoted from the majority opposition on Lincolnshire County Council with only 10 seats left. Labour form the official opposition with 12 of 77 seats in total.
September 18, 2013: Chris Pain is removed from UKIP following a meeting of the party’s emergency disciplinary committee.
November 6, 2013: UKIP confirmed five breakaway group county councillors — John Beaver, Tiggs Keywood Wainwright, Bob McAuley, Alan Jesson and Richard Fairman — have been removed from the party. All five, plus Chris Pain, remain councillors under the UKIG name (United Kingdom Independence Group).