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Patrick O’Flynn MEP to relinquish posts as UKIP economic and media & sport spokesman.

27th Jul, 17

Patrick O’Flynn MEP to relinquish posts as UKIP economic and media & sport spokesman.

East of England MEP Patrick O’Flynn today announces he is giving up his roles as an official UKIP party spokesman.

Mr O’Flynn will give up his roles as economic spokesman and media & sport spokesman with immediate effect.

He said: “It is clear to me that UKIP’s activist base wishes to go in a more libertarian, shrink-the-state and Thatcherite direction when it comes to economic policy.

“Ever since becoming prominent in the party, I have argued for UKIP to be at the common sense centre of politics, rather than allowing itself to be defined as on the right wing. For example, I have sought support for tough measures to combat corporate tax avoidance and proposed a premium rate of VAT for luxury goods in order to make that tax more equitable. I have also championed more resources for the NHS, arguing against those in the party who would prefer to run healthcare on private insurance lines.

“Recently I set out in a blog why I did not think a libertarian and Thatcherite economic approach of further shrinking the state or giving more tax cuts for the rich via a “flat tax” was a good idea. But every leadership candidate I have heard appears to disagree with me about our economic approach. So rather than hanging around to obstruct a new leader, I have decided to make way now.

“I will concentrate instead on campaigning for the best possible Brexit during my remaining time as an MEP. This is one theme on which the party is entirely united around the six Brexit tests that were set out under Paul Nuttall’s leadership. So I will be glad to be campaigning entirely with the grain of the party.

“I do feel it is a regrettable that the more centrist approach argued for by the likes of me and Suzanne Evans is falling by the wayside in UKIP. But I also acknowledge that shrink-the-state libertarianism is more deeply embedded within the DNA of the party than I had appreciated.

“Libertarianism is an important strand of political thought and while I have always borne that standpoint in mind during policy formulation, I have never felt defined by it and have generally argued for the important and legitimate role of a strong state in promoting a good society to be equally kept in mind.

“I do not however dispute that Libertarians, Classical Liberals and other small state advocates deserve a political party to make their arguments to the British public and clearly there is an appetite within UKIP to set out that stall in the months ahead.

“I will always be proud of UKIP’s essential role in forcing the EU referendum and delivering victory in June of last year. And it will be an enormous privilege to help see the Brexit mission, upon which I have worked for so long, through to completion in 2019.”