JUST when its General Election campaign was making a faltering recovery from a shambolic start, a UKIP candidate has revealed that she is considering whether to take legal action against her own party.
Norma Woodward, UKIP’s candidate in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr claimed to BBC Wales that she had been ‘intimidated, harassed and libelled by the UKIP Wales committee’.
UKIP’s organization in Wales, which is headed by MEP Nathan Gill, attempted to remove Ms Woodward as its candidate for the Carmarthenshire constituency after making public allegations of financial impropriety.
The farce originally extended to an ‘oh no she isn’t, oh yes she is’ tussle about Ms Woodward’s status as UKIP’s Westminster election candidate. At one point UKIP Wales’ website showed no candidate as being selected for Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, while the UK website did.
In the end, UKIP’s UK leadership prevailed in the dispute, determining that its Wales office lacked the requisite power to deselect Ms Woodward as its candidate.
A statement at the time from UKIP said UKIP’s Welsh committee had ‘misunderstood its constitutional position’.
Ms Woodward claimed: “Right from the beginning I’ve had a tremendous lot of intimidation and harassment, libel and slander and sexual discrimination against me as a female.”
She continued: “The campaigning itself is straightforward, the work is easy.”
“It’s been the bullying that’s been very hard to cope with so I would like the opportunity to clear my name because I haven’t committed any of these things I’ve been accused of.”
Ms Woodward went on to state that UKIP’s central office had been ‘extremely supportive’ of her.
UKIP Wales responded to the allegations by claiming they were unaware of their candidate’s concerns: “These comments have only now been brought to our attention. Had they been raised with the committee previously we would have immediately investigated them.”
UKIP’s campaign in Wales has been a hit and miss affair, with a dispute in Brecon & Radnor resulting in a stand-off between party activists and UKIP Wales’ officers.