Call to deselect UKIP AM Michelle Brown rejected

Image source, UKIP
Image caption, Some UKIP activists have accused Michelle Brown of "serious misconduct"

A call to deselect a UKIP member of the Welsh assembly has been rejected by the party's ruling body.

A letter sent by party activists in north Wales claimed Michelle Brown has been "abrasive and discourteous" to them.

It was sent to UKIP's national executive committee (NEC) before a row over racial slurs about a Labour MP, for which Ms Brown apologised.

But UKIP chairman Paul Oakden said the letter did not follow proper process.

A UKIP assembly group spokesman said the letter was written by a group with a "long-standing grudge" against the AM.

The ruling NEC body discussed the issue at a meeting on Friday, where they also decided to allow a controversial anti-Islam campaigner to run for the UKIP leadership.

Image caption, Paul Oakden said emailing the NEC was not proper procedure

Mr Oakden said: "A member of the NEC had contacted the person that is putting this forward and said to them they need to follow the proper process of completing the necessary forms and submitting them to the NEC.

"Members simply emailing the NEC saying we want you to do this is not the correct disciplinary process for the party, by any stretch of the imagination.

"A member of the NEC has gone back and given advice on what they need to do."

'Lack of effort'

Shaun Owen, secretary of UKIP's Delyn branch, wrote to the NEC saying: "For some time we have been appalled by the abrasive and discourteous manner of Ms Brown towards UKIP locally.

"Her lack of effort in pursuing the aims of the party both locally and nationally is of concern to members across the region."

Mr Owen added he believed members would stop supporting UKIP if Ms Brown remained in the role.

However, a spokesman for the party's assembly group dismissed the letter as written by a "tiny and insignificant group".

In February, Ms Brown denied an allegation she had smoked recreational drugs in a hotel room.

Later that month, she said she had acted "with propriety" after it was revealed she had discussed how an advert for a job in her assembly office could be changed to help her brother get an interview for the post.

Image caption, Anne Marie Waters has been allowed to stand in the UKIP leadership contest

Meanwhile, UKIP's NEC confirmed that 11 hopefuls in the contest to succeed Paul Nuttall as leader will be able to run as candidates.

The list includes Anne Marie Waters, the founder of the Sharia Watch pressure group, who has described Islam as evil.

UKIP AM David Rowlands had said Ms Waters is probably "too extreme" to be allowed to stand but she claimed the party was trying to "ostracise" her.

Other candidates who have also cleared the NEC's vetting process and are going forward to a vote of the membership include Welsh activist John Rees-Evans, London Assembly member Peter Whittle and Scottish MEP David Coburn.

Mr Nuttall resigned after the general election in June when the party failed to win any seats and saw its vote plummet.

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